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Centrelink is using debt collectors like never before, says Legal Aid

6 January 2017
The Courier

Centrelink is using debt collectors like never before and making snap decisions based on “limited information” since the introduction of a new automated debt recovery system, Victoria Legal Aid has said.
Collectors have been used by the government agency before but never based on such an “inaccurate and blunt” system, Civil Justice, Access and Equity executive director Dan Nicholson said.

Those with alleged Centrelink debt are turning to payday loans

11 January 2017
finder.com.au

Some Centrelink recipients that have been targeted in the department's new debt recovery endeavour are finding themselves in severe financial stress, with some looking at taking out a payday loan to get by. Speaking to the Herald Sun, Centrelink recipient Michael Bond said issues relating to debt recovery were affecting his Medicare payments. He and his family, who reside in Melbourne, are owed $500.

Even doctors are getting screwed by Centrelink

11 January 2017
Herald Sun

Doctors from top Australian universities say they too were hit with erroneous Centrelink debt notices — and even they can’t seem to fix the mistakes.
Darren O’Connell, who has a PhD in economics and lectured at Curtin University, told news.com.au he has tried eight times since November to get his inaccurate debt removed from the system, but the letters keep coming.

Turnbull risks alienating voters one letter at a time

6 January 2017
The Australian

Malcolm Turnbull and his ministers are playing with political fire in their hunt for $4 billion in savings from the welfare system by sending off letters to thousands of Australians with a clear warning that debt collectors will be called in to recover old payments.
The blowback from voters is already dangerous and is certain to get worse when the vast program grows across time. The vitriolic complaints about the exercise during the past few weeks have been based on the first batch of 169,000 letters from Centrelink that assume welfare recipients need to repay some of their benefits. It is a taste of things to come.

High Farce: The Turnbull Government’s Centrelink ‘Robo-Debt’ Debacle Continues To Grow

6 January 2017
New Matilda

In the lead-up to Christmas, tens of thousands of Australians started receiving threatening debt collection notices from Centrelink and its agents. Coming from a government that couldn’t run an online census, you can probably guess what happened. Ben Eltham explains just in case you can’t.

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