The Federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, has welcomed new legislation introduced to Parliament this week that will simplify the legal procedures for de facto couples who separate.

The Attorney General, Robert McClelland, introduced the legislation which will allow de facto couples to have access to the Family Court for property and maintenance matters, instead of having to go to the State and Territory courts.

Ms Saffin said that it was a difficult time for any couple, married or de facto, when they separated but the current laws made it particularly difficult for de facto couples.

“When a de facto couple breaks up they can only take child-related issues to the Family Court, but maintenance and property issues have to go through the State and Territory courts,” she said.

“This legislation will give separating de facto couples greater legal protection and get rid of the unnecessary administration and financial burden of having to pursue issues through two court systems.

“In Page there are around 9000 people living in de facto relationships, and it’s important that their legal rights are protected.

“This reform brings the law into step with the community.”

The Attorney General said the legislation honoured the Government’s commitment to ensure that family law applied in a consistent and uniform way to de facto relationships.

He said the legislation would not discriminate between opposite-sex and same-sex de facto couples.