The staff tasked with adminstering Centrelink’s “robo-debt” system are under huge pressure too and are demanding an immediate halt to the punitive approach.
A Centrelink worker told Green Left Weekly that the system was implemented without staff being trained and that they were ill equipped to explain the debts.
“We haven’t been told anything about how the robo-debt system works,” they said. “We have just been instructed to direct people to the MyGov website. We have been finding out the specifics about how the debts are generated by listening to Hack [the Triple J afternoon news program] or reading articles on social media.”
The worker also told Green Left Weekly that staff were also being instructed to hastily and arbitrarily approve or reject student payment claims that had been initiated up to six months ago and were still waiting to be processed due to computer system problems.
“‘Just get them done so we get the stats in’, is what we are being told to do.”