Celebrants’ rage as government introduces $600 annual fee

CHANGES to red tape will hit the wallets of Gladstone wedding celebrants.

Despite parliamentary sittings focusing on cutting red tape, wedding celebrants are enraged at the bureaucratic surge in their industry.

The Federal Government has narrowed in on the lucrative wedding industry as part of its "red tape repeal day", looking to impose a $600 annual registration fee nationally for celebrants, expected to come into effect in July.

Celebrant Patrick Chambers said the government was targeting the vocation as a means of raising revenue.

"They are out to make a dollar in any way, shape or form," he said.

"In turn they will just distribute it (the fee) to a number of useless causes."

Mr Chambers said his duties as a celebrant were often underestimated, with costs for red carpets, PA systems and advertising costs often overlooked.

"We try to provide the best service possible to our clients by going above and beyond," he said.

"And then these miserable bast***s make it harder by charging $600 more."

Once passed by the Senate, the costs are expected to rise every year, in accordance with the consumer price index.

Disdain was also expressed by celebrant Andee Evans at the cheap attempt to capitalise upon social trends.

Marriages officiated by a celebrant have experienced a 69% increase since 1973.

"It's a bit of a disappointment really," Ms Evans said.

"I feel that the government realises the expenditure of weddings and are just trying to make a cut out of it."

The Marriage (Celebrant Registration Charge) Bill 2014 claims to implement cost recovery, enabling the program to improve services delivered to Commonwealth-registered celebrants, while also better regulating those celebrants, according to the explanatory memorandum circulated by the Attorney-General's office.

The financial impact statement included on the memorandum claimed that the fees and charges for marriage celebrants would "recover the costs of the Attorney-General's department's administration of the program. It is not intended to generate revenue."



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