13.4 A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cth) (the Family Assistance Act) requires a person who receives more than the base rate of FTB Part A for a child to take reasonable action to obtain maintenance, where it is reasonable to do so. This is referred to as taking ‘reasonable maintenance action’ or the ‘maintenance action test’ (often abbreviated to ‘MAT’). To comply with this requirement, a person must apply for child support, where eligible. He or she must also opt for the Child Support Agency (CSA) to collect payments, or collect the full amount of child support payments.
13.5 If a person does not take reasonable maintenance action, the Family Assistance Office (FAO) will reduce FTB Part A payments for the child to the base rate. There is therefore a financial consequence if such action is not pursued.
13.6 As discussed in Chapter 12, the reasonable maintenance action requirement is a key strategy to the objective of limiting government expenditure to the minimum required to ensure that children of separated parents receive adequate financial support, and that parents have the primary responsibility of financial support for their children. To this end, the reasonable maintenance action requirement is complemented by the ‘maintenance income test’, which operates to reduce FTB Part A by 50 cents for every dollar of child support, above an exempted amount, until the base rate of FTB Part A is reached.
A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cth) sch 1 cl 10. See also Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth) ss 151, 151A. FTB Part A is described in Ch 14.
 FaHCSIA, Family Assistance Guide <www.fahcsia.gov.au/guides_acts/> at 1 November 2011, [220.127.116.11]. See also [18.104.22.168]: ‘Unless the applicant/recipient has been granted an exemption, they must privately collect 100% of the amount payable under the order/agreement or the formula assessment, otherwise CSA collection will be required. Failure will result in their FTB Part A being reduced to the base rate for the child’ .
A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cth) sch 1 cl 10; FaHCSIA, Family Assistance Guide <www.fahcsia.gov.au/guides_acts/> at 1 November 2011, [22.214.171.124]. See also [126.96.36.199], [188.8.131.52]. The role of the FAO is described in Ch 14.
 Parents eligible for child support have 13 weeks after separation to apply for child support or obtain an exemption to avoid a reduction in the FTB Part A rate.