This is extremely distressing and upsetting as the amount of the 'debt' is so high. I discovered the letter about this debt on my last work day before Christmas.
When I phoned Centrelink the employee said the automated system had 'duplicated' my employer so it appeared as though I had an extra, undeclared job. Still the onus is on me to prove that the debt is invalid. Today I took 52 payslips into a Centrelink office to be scanned and the employee said to keep my copies "Until this mess is sorted out".
I have started to repay the debt to avoid debt collectors at a rate of $60 a fortnight while I appeal. Centrelink debt Recovery's initial request was that I pay $900 a fortnight.
I am a single mother of two and my fortnightly rent is $860, my net pay is $1,100... I have no safety net- the approx $400 of family tax benefits per fortnight keep us afloat.
I intend to seek advice from legal aid agencies in my state, but they are swamped with people in similar situations and it will be several weeks before I can get an appointment.
I do not trust this government at all.
I am disgusted with the government's insistence that this process is fair and easy to work through as well as their refusal to pause the automated system until it has been shown to work correctly.
We are guilty until proven innocent.
I have been met with obstacles every step of the way.
It is ridiculous and inhumane that the government is putting so many vulnerable people in this distressful situation, while ignoring corporate tax evaders.