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Second Liberal senator attacks Centrelink debt retrieval and demands solution

19 January 2017
Guardian

A second Tasmanian Liberal senator has criticised Centrelink’s debt recovery system, urging his colleagues to avoid “another talkfest” and “get the problems fixed”.
The recently elected Liberal senator Jonathon Duniam has written to the human services minister, Alan Tudge, to express concerns about the troubled system.
He told Guardian Australia he had conveyed concerns raised with his office to Tudge and sought an urgent solution.

Pensioners, families, disabled targeted when Centrelink debt recovery scheme expands

18 January 2017
news.com.au

Centrelink's robo-debt recovery scheme is set to be expanded this year despite calls for an inquiry into the system.
Pensioners, families and the disabled will be among those targeted as the Government attempts to claw back billions in overpaid welfare to help repair the budget.
New figures released in the midyear budget update papers show the Government expects to regain an extra $2.2 billion from parents, pensioners and people on disability support, Fairfax media reports.

Disability advocates hold fears for mental health, suicide

18 January 2017
The Courier

Disability advocates say expanding Centrelink’s debt recovery system to people on disability support will push clients who are already suicidal over the edge and “inundate” overstretched mental health services.
Grampians Disability Advocacy’s Fiona Tipping said she already has a caseload of people in Ballarat who are suicidal as a result of their disability support pensions being rejected or cancelled.
On Tuesday it was revealed the government plans to extend its controversial debt collection system to people on aged pensions and disability support pensions later this year.

A Group Of Disgruntled Centrelink Clients Serve Alan Tudge's Office With A Fake Debt Notice

18 January 2017
Huffington Post

A handful of protesters have parked themselves in front of Liberal MP Alan Tudge's office, protesting the Centrelink #notmydebt saga with an abundance of chants and issuing his office with a "debt notice" of $300 million.
The group played mock Centrelink hold music, and chanted "Hey Tudge, we won't budge" before being moved on by police at 2:35pm.

Labor calls for Senate inquiry into Centrelink robo-debt mess

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

Labor will refer the Turnbull Government’s robo-debt debacle to a Senate inquiry when Parliament resumes in February, following weeks of mounting public concern and a litany of issues with the program.
Linda Burney, Shadow Minister for Human Services, made the announcement following news that the Turnbull Government now intends to target age and disability support pensioners with the error prone system.

Confusion in Centrelink about removal of six-year expiry date on debts

18 January 2017
The Mandarin

Before January 1, Centrelink debts expired if the agency ignored them for six years. Now it can pursue them at any time like the Tax Office, but within the agency there is confusion about the implications.
[...]
There’s apparently a view in the agency that now there is nothing stopping the automated compliance program from going back through tax and welfare records “indefinitely” to find new debts to raise.

It's time to target the top end of town and the obscene profits of the super-rich

17 January 2017
Guardian

While apparent flaws in the Centrelink welfare crackdown have been a focus of public discussion, the controversy has rightly prompted indignation at a policy targeting members of our community who are struggling to make ends meet, while at the same time, more than one in three large corporations paid no Australian tax in the past financial year.
The debate provides a timely opportunity to look at the top end of town, where wealth is concentrated in Australia.

Centrelink debt recovery scheme: Ombudsman to meet welfare groups this week over controversial program

17 January 2017
ABC News

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is wasting no time in starting its investigation into the Federal Government's welfare debt claw-back scheme, scheduling meetings around the country this week to quiz welfare groups about the impact of the controversial project.
The Ombudsman's office said it would be holding roundtable discussions with "stakeholders" as part of the investigation it launched earlier this month.

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