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Centrelink systematically ripping off clients: whistleblower

19 January 2017
Noel Towell
The Canberra Times

Centrelink is deliberately ripping-off thousands of Australians caught up in its data matching "robo-debt" program, with managers telling public servants at the agency to enforce debts they know are bogus, according to explosive new claims. 

Another whistleblower has come forward with an insider's account of how the "debts" are being pursued, alleging that glaring errors are being deliberately ignored by Centrelink to allow it to extract money from its clients.

Others are being told they must repay "fictitious payments"; money that they never even received, according to the allegations.

Pensioners and other struggling members of the community are being hounded for "recovery fees" unfairly added on top of their debts by Centrelink, according to the whistleblower's statement, published on Thursday by left leaning advocacy group Get-Up and Centrelink's main workplace union the CPSU.

The insider, who has defied public service bosses' threats on leaking against the program, also alleges that Centrelink managers are well aware that bogus debts are being pursued and are ignoring pleas from compliance staff to take a fair approach to the debt recovery process.