Go to top of page

Robo debt: Andrew Leigh 'inundated' with letters from affected Canberrans

30 January 2017
Georgina Connery
Canberra Times

Member for Fenner, Andrew Leigh said his office had been "inundated" with letters of angst, fear and frustration as more than 50 Canberrans contacted him about their Centrelink robo-debt woes so far this month.

The heartbreaking stories of financial stress and worry were a reminder of just how tough it was to get by on the poverty line and highlighted the "crude way this [process] was being carried out", with people who do and don't actually need to pay back money.

Dr Leigh has called for the immediate suspension of the Centrelink automatic debt identification system until its bugs are ironed out.

"If you have system that is mistakenly accusing someone of wrong doing one time in five, that is not good enough," he said. 

He said as so many people affected had so little, it was vital such bungles didn't exacerbate financial hardship.

"Noone objects to the use of IT systems in identifying fraud but what this government has done is taken the human component out of that to create a robo-debt raising system that is generating huge angst across the Canberra community."