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Department paying the price

23 February 2017
Latrobe Valley Express

Morwell based Centrelink staff will be resisting the urge to say 'I told you so' after Labor and the Greens successfully lobbied for a senate inquiry into the Federal Government's maligned 'robo-debt' scheme.
In the past two years about 18 skilled Morwell staff have been transferred into other roles to make way for automated-debt calculation technology, which has since led to thousands of Centrelink clients facing repayments they do not owe.

Centrelink's robo-copout

23 February 2017
Latrobe Valley Express

Churchill resident Kate Zizys can empathise with Centrelink clients affected by 'robo-debt' orders for money they may not owe.
Having been in the Centrelink system on and off for most of her adult life, Ms Zizys has been forced to make inflated repayments in the past, despite going to appeal.

Illawarra pensioner caught up in Centrelink debt letter ‘disaster’

7 February 2017
Illawarra Mercury

Whitlam MP Stephen Jones has used federal parliament’s first sitting day for 2017 to take aim at the government’s Centrelink debt recovery system “disaster”.
Mr Jones on Tuesday told the story of Margaret, a 77-year-old pensioner from his electorate, who received a debt notice of $467.44 as part of the automated system.

Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon highlights Centrelink debt debacle

8 February 2017
Muswellbrook Chronicle

Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon marked the first day of Parliament for 2017 with a speech in the House of Representatives about an issue critical to hundreds of Hunter constituents.
Fitzgibbon’s 90-second statement highlighted the government’s current Centrelink crisis and the debacle surrounding automated debt recovery.
“This must stop,” he said.

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.

Glenmore Park woman "sick with stress" over $35,000 Centrelink debt

26 January 2017
Penrith City Gazette

A Glenmore Park woman has described being sick with stress after Centrelink slapped her with a $35,000 debt bill, only to have it reduced to $173 a week later.
The woman, who is known to the Gazette but wishes to remain anonymous, was caught up in the controversial Centrelink crackdown on alleged overpayments earlier this month after being informed she owed the government agency $2,795.87, but was not told why.

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