Social services minister says debt recovery system criticised in Senate inquiry is tackling ‘a massive amount of overpayments’ to claimants
Centrelink began recalling all the “robo debts” it had sent to one of its external debt collection agencies in early January, an inquiry has heard, at the same time as federal ministers were publicly refuting suggestions the recovery process was unfair or inaccurate.
The Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, still isn’t across the detail of his bungled robo debt recovery program, contradicting his senior minister and his own department.
Linda Burney, Shadow Minister for Human Services, raised concerns following a number of confused and inconsistent statements made by Mr Tudge since he returned from holidays just this week.
Shadow Minister for Human Services, Linda Burney, has called on Alan Tudge to apologise to those caught in his robo-debt mess following his concession in media reports this morning that changes need to be made.
The stunning admission comes just a week after the Minister returned from holidays and insisted that no changes would be made and that “the system [was] working well”.
Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, has announced for a second time that he will make changes to his error prone robo-debt system after thousands of honest Australians were targeted for inflated or non-existent debt, but he still will not apologise.
According to a Freedom of Information Request by the ABC, the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter and his Department claim to not have been informed about the Centrelink robo-debt debacle.
The FOI request reveals that Mr Porter did not receive any written briefings, documents or analysis about the program from Centrelink or his department before publicly proclaiming it was working "incredibly well", earlier this year.
Imagine you get a letter from Centrelink saying you have an outstanding debt of more than half your yearly salary. Oh, and it's due in just over a fortnight.
This article contains an extended discussion of the circumstances around a suicide.
As Centrelink continues its campaign of flawed and inscrutable debt collection, a young man commits suicide.
The Government is taking steps to ensure people pay back their welfare debts if they have received payments they are not entitled to.
Two Bills are being introduced to Parliament today to strengthen the integrity of Australia’s welfare system.
CHRIS SMITH: I want to return right now to the growing issue of welfare rorting in Australia. Some of the figures on this subject are rather staggering, but the Federal Government is now vowing to extend its program to recover $4 billion in welfare debts from almost 2 million Australians who may have incorrectly received benefit payments. Now, remember this is taxpayers' money.
AUDIO with full transcript.