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Centrelink debt recovery scheme: Ombudsman to meet welfare groups this week over controversial program

17 January 2017
ABC News

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is wasting no time in starting its investigation into the Federal Government's welfare debt claw-back scheme, scheduling meetings around the country this week to quiz welfare groups about the impact of the controversial project.
The Ombudsman's office said it would be holding roundtable discussions with "stakeholders" as part of the investigation it launched earlier this month.

New ReachTel poll shows Turnbull popularity slammed over Centrelink, entitlements saga

16 January 2017
news.com.au

An Australian of the Year finalist has also become embroiled in the Centrelink debt recovery debacle, after being sent an incorrect debt notice due to the automatic debt recovery system.
Queensland medical researcher Dr Janet Hammill, who works voluntarily and lives off the age pension, was sent a debt notice for $7600, The Guardian reports.
[...]
The latest reports comes as a new poll shows the Turnbull Government’s popularity has taken a hit in the wake of problems with the Centrelink debt recovery system and MPs’ entitlements.

Coalition hits new low and Greens trail One Nation in poll showing Centrelink anger

16 January 2017
Guardian

One Nation gains ground in GetUp poll that finds 46.2% want Centrelink automated debt collection halted, compared with 31.8% who want to keep it.
The Turnbull government has hit a new low in its two-party preferred vote and the Greens trail One Nation in a fresh poll that also shows widespread anger at the Centrelink debt debacle.
The ReachTel poll of 2,126 Australians for the progressive political campaign group GetUp shows the Coalition trailing Labor 46% to 54% in two-party preferred terms.

Bill Shorten's skin is so thick it puts a rhino's to shame

16 January 2017
The Age

What is it about us, what kind of bongo juice are we on when we fall for some schmaltzy rubbish suggesting that everyone should be allowed to keep overpayments?
This whole debate is a Groundhog Day for me. I once had the welfare portfolio and there were inevitably occasions when people had overpayments and were expected to repay them. There was always the possibility to pay back over time, but many took umbrage at having to pay anything at all. Many in the media, and just about everyone in opposition, played it for all it was worth. The department, Centrelink and the government were always portrayed as mean and nasty people who just wanted to give welfare recipients the boot.

False to say there is a 20% error rate in Centrelink debt recovery system

13 January 2017
Australian Government Department of Human Services

Labor's ongoing accusation that there is a 20% error rate in the Centrelink debt recovery system is false.
Every letter that is initially sent is based on a discrepancy between an individual's income data held at the Australian Taxation Office with their self-reported income data at Centrelink. The first letter simply notes the discrepancy and gives an opportunity for the individual to explain it. This is not a debt letter.

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