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No significant increase in debt review requests, says Centrelink

27 January 2017
Guardian

Claim sits in stark contrast to allegations from staff and a Centrelink compliance officer says it is misleading.
Centrelink has maintained it is not seeing any significant increase in requests to review debts generated by its controversial automated recovery system, directly contradicting the claims of its own staff.
Despite the continued criticism of the system, the Department of Human Services said the number of requests for formal review had not increased dramatically.

Centrelink staff tell welfare recipients they agree debt system is 'unjust and callous'

25 January 2017
Guardian

Unionised Centrelink staff have written an open letter to welfare recipients saying they share their pain about the “unfair, unjust and callous” automated debt recovery system.
The letter was released by the Community and Public Sector Union on Wednesday, as the Department of Human Services issued its own statement lambasting the media for saying the system has a 20% error rate.

Let's talk about facts

25 January 2017
Australian Government Department of Human Services Media Hub

Public discussion continues to present false accounts of the Department of Humans Services’ online compliance review system.
The department has already rejected unsubstantiated claims from anonymous staff in statements last week, including refuting allegations about the treatment of exempt income. All assessments appropriately consider assessable and non-assessable income.

Losing oxygen to leakers and the media, Centrelink’s comms fall back to ‘the facts’

25 January 2017
The Mandarin

The Department of Human Services has rejected speculation that Centrelink’s automated systems generate incorrect assessments of past income and welfare entitlements in 90% of cases, as further serious claims emerge from the agency’s staff.
The new statement is naively headlined “Let’s talk about facts” — ignoring the important context that it’s hard for anyone to know what to believe out of the mix of anonymous claims from staff, the union’s ongoing campaign regarding working conditions and staffing levels at DHS, the online #notmydebt campaign, flat-out denials and semantic arguments from the department, and of course opinions in the media.

Nice try Hank, but DHS staff not to blame

24 January 2017
Community & Public Sector Union

Last week DHS spokesperson, Hank Jongen sought to blame staff for the community’s widespread resistance to and frustration with the online compliance system. This is massive spin, even for Hank. The irony here being that if frontline staff had had input into the design of the troubled online compliance system it wouldn’t be generating erroneous debts.

Robo debt: Centrelink staff write protest material in response to debt recovery program

25 January 2017
Canberra Times

Centrelink public servants have stepped up their internal resistance to the welfare agency's controversial "robo-debt" program, with union officials handing out protest material to clients at offices around Australia on Wednesday.
The move came as the welfare agency lashed out, again, at "unsubstantiated claims from anonymous staff" about the debt recovery program.

Centrelink cooking the books on violence against public servants, union says

23 January 2017
Canberra Times

Centrelink says more than 8600 reports of customer aggression towards its staff last financial year is an improvement, but its main workplace union says the welfare agency is hiding the extent of the problem.
The agency's bosses insist the workplace safety situation is improving but the union says plummeting customer service standards are driving high levels of verbal and physical aggression towards frontline Centrelink workers.

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