A Senate Committee report into the Government’s Centrelink Online Compliance Intervention (robo-debt) program has called for it to be put on hold until of the procedural fairness flaws in the program are addressed. The Committee a says the Government should re-assess all debts determined through the use of income averaging and that a redesigned system should include a robust risk assessment process.
A Labor- and Greens-dominated Senate committee has called on the Government to suspend Centrelink's controversial debt recovery program until it reconciles "a fundamental lack of procedural fairness".
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.
Government-contracted debt collectors allegedly threatened to garnish a student’s wages unless she immediately paid $500 for a Centrelink debt that was in dispute, a Senate inquiry has heard.
‘As any normal person would, I panicked and paid $500 using my credit card,’ postgraduate student says
Scathing assessment comes as system again put under the microscope, this time by external auditors PwC Australia.
Victoria Legal Aid has described Centrelink’s robo-debt system as an “abject failure” which is an arguably unlawful response to the government’s self-inflicted budget problems.
Australian Privacy Foundation tells Senate inquiry into ‘robo debt’ scandal there is no evidence guidelines were followed.
Centrelink began recalling all the “robo debts” it had sent to one of its external debt collection agencies in early January, an inquiry has heard, at the same time as federal ministers were publicly refuting suggestions the recovery process was unfair or inaccurate.
A report of a debt collection agency portraying itself as a Government department is just another underhanded and nasty tactic being used as part of the Government’s automated debt recovery program, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
The Senate inquiry into the Centrelink debt recovery process has revealed that the Government is paying private debt collectors commission only to rake back potentially incorrect automated debts from former Centrelink recipients.