Centrelink's 'robo-debt' effort should stop immediately, a Parliamentary committee says, after finding the program had a "profoundly negative impact on the lives of thousands of Australians."
The federal government has been urged to suspend Centrelink's controversial robo-debt program until problems are fixed.
A Senate Committee report into the Government’s Centrelink Online Compliance Intervention (robo-debt) program has called for it to be put on hold until of the procedural fairness flaws in the program are addressed. The Committee a says the Government should re-assess all debts determined through the use of income averaging and that a redesigned system should include a robust risk assessment process.
A Labor- and Greens-dominated Senate committee has called on the Government to suspend Centrelink's controversial debt recovery program until it reconciles "a fundamental lack of procedural fairness".
This is the third feature in Ben Eltham’s 2017 investigation into Centrelink’s robo-debt program. The first article in the series was published in January, and the second article in March.
Centrelink’s sprawling data-matching empire is opaque, error-prone and almost completely impossible to understand, writes Ben Eltham. And it’s expanding across government programs and agencies.
After listening to weeks of harrowing testimony, Siewert has found the Senate Inquiry a draining experience.
“You come out of those hearings and you feel really drained. The evidence we hear is very distressing – hearing of people’s experiences and feeling their sense of powerlessness and despair.”
A Senate inquiry into the so-called robo-debt saga handed down its final report on Wednesday evening, after conducting hearings across the country.
The committee urged the government to put the program on hold until "a fundamental lack of procedural fairness" was addressed.
It handed down 21 recommendations aimed at fixing the "broken" program.
But Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, who is responsible for Centrelink, has shot down the report.
A Senate inquiry has called for Centrelink’s controversial automated debt recovery system to be suspended until its many flaws can be resolved.
The inquiry released its report on Wednesday night, which made 21 recommendations for fixing the robo-debt system.
The inquiry has urged all debts calculated using the error-prone “income averaging” process to be reassessed. It also called for a redesign of the system with a robust risk assessment process.
“Senator Brandis: step out of your ivory tower, and attempt to call Centrelink. Be prepared for a wake-up call”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
A report of a debt collection agency portraying itself as a Government department is just another underhanded and nasty tactic being used as part of the Government’s automated debt recovery program, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“It is extremely concerning that the Government has willingly and openly given media the personal details of a Centrelink recipient and will do so again to those who dare to speak out about the automated debt recovery system.