A consortium of leading organisations from Australia’s community sector is calling on the government to immediately pull the plug on Centrelink’s RoboDebt, cease the intimidation and bullying of Centrelink clients and their families caught up in the automated debt recovery debacle, and provide a commitment that people’s protected information will not be publicly released.
ACOSS again calls on the Federal Government to immediately end the robodebt program ahead of the release of the Senate Inquiry report today.
A senate inquiry in to Centrelink's controversial robo-debt recovery scheme will reveal its findings later today.
This is the third feature in Ben Eltham’s 2017 investigation into Centrelink’s robo-debt program. The first article in the series was published in January, and the second article in March.
Centrelink’s sprawling data-matching empire is opaque, error-prone and almost completely impossible to understand, writes Ben Eltham. And it’s expanding across government programs and agencies.
After listening to weeks of harrowing testimony, Siewert has found the Senate Inquiry a draining experience.
“You come out of those hearings and you feel really drained. The evidence we hear is very distressing – hearing of people’s experiences and feeling their sense of powerlessness and despair.”
A Senate inquiry has called for Centrelink’s controversial automated debt recovery system to be suspended until its many flaws can be resolved.
The inquiry released its report on Wednesday night, which made 21 recommendations for fixing the robo-debt system.
The inquiry has urged all debts calculated using the error-prone “income averaging” process to be reassessed. It also called for a redesign of the system with a robust risk assessment process.
More than a third of Australian welfare debt recovery decisions have been overturned by the independent tribunal that oversees Centrelink.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has set aside 960 Centrelink debt decisions out of 2,699 appeals lodged between March 2016 and March 2017, while a further 132 were “varied”.
The majority of the decisions are likely too early to relate to the government’s controversial “robo debt” measure but Guardian Australia understands tribunal members are concerned about the looming workload caused by the government’s use of the automated system.
The senate inquiry into Alan Tudge’s bungled robo-debt system will hear first hand from Tasmanians over the next week as hearings are held in Hobart today and Launceston on Thursday.
The inquiry is expected to hear that despite Mr Tudge’s claims that the system is working well, it has actually been a disaster for the most vulnerable Tasmanians.
Tasmanian pension recipients fear they will be caught up in Centrelink’s controversial debt recovery process.
More than 58 per cent of respondents to the Sunday Tasmanian’s survey of pensioners say they hold concerns about the automated system, which has been criticised for targeting individuals inaccurately.
Only 15 per cent said they had no concerns, while 36 per cent described themselves as very concerned.
External debt collectors hired by Centrelink as part of the government's controversial automated debt recovery program are being paid a commission for each debt they recover, a Senate inquiry has been told.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has sought to distance itself from Centrelink's controversial debt recovery program, telling a Senate inquiry it cannot be held accountable for how its data is used.