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Labor calls on Auditor General to investigate Centrelink debt disaster

6 January 2017
The Hon Linda Burney MP
The Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services, ALP Member for Barton

Labor has today called on the Australian National Audit Office to conduct an independent performance review into the Turnbull Government’s disastrous, error prone Centrelink data matching program.
The automated data matching system has caught thousands of honest Australian’s in its net, with the government’s own estimates suggesting that at least 4,000 honest people per week are being wrongly accused of dishonesty.
Despite clear failures and enormous community concerns The Minister for Human Services, Hon Alan Tudge MP, remains on leave and is yet to respond at all.
Linda Burney, Shadow Minister for Human Services, has today written to the Australian National Audit Office asking that they investigate the risk management, administration and savings attached to the program.
Despite calls from disability groups, former Turnbull government advisors and the opposition, the acting Minister, Hon. Christian Porter, insists that the program will not be paused or fixed and that it is “the only fair way to run the system”.
The Turnbull Government’s view is at odds with hundreds of stories submitted to the community run Not My Debt website.
“The acting Minister says they’ve saved $300m but senior public servants contradict him - it is time for an independent audit” said Ms Burney .
“If the government truly believes the program is working they will support an independent audit.”
“So far from the government we’ve had silence, then the acting minister throwing a tantrum, followed by bureaucrats being forced to defend the system they know is failing - what we need is action and clarity on the scale of this mess.”
“For months we’ve been hearing horror stories about the consequences of Minister Tudge’s bungled program, I want to get the facts straight and the system to be suspended until it can be fixed.”