So, i was told i had a debt of nearly 10 grand, for a three year period beginning eight years ago.
I was applying for Newstart at the time of discovering this information so i was understandably upset.
I was wracking my brains at just how in the world that would have happened, but obviously being so long ago, and over a three year period, it's impossible to recall.
For portions of those years, I was studying(austudy) & also briefly on Newstart. Through worry & tears, i got in touch with my previous employer & luckily they still had three years worth of payslips which i sent to c'link.
Three weeks later they got in touch to tell me my 10grand debt is actually just over 1grand. Pheww.
After obvious relief & joy, I am just so angry as to how they are continuing to use such an obviously flawed system to collect debt.
It was such a huge discrepancy in my case (obviously I'd earned most of my income for those yrs whilst not recieving a c'link payment), which caused me a lot of worry especially not being in a great place emotionally/financially in my life.
This method of working out debt & the guilty until proven innocent way it is carried out is dangerous & could really destroy lives, and should not be able to continue.
I have no qualms with the staff i spoke to at centrelink. One lady was even quite sympathetic when she spoke to me.
They are obviously just having to work with a ridiculous system.
I have a problem with the Federal Government for implementing such an awful system, obviously designed to marginalise & treat those most vulnerable and obviously despised 'welfare recipients' with contempt, in hopes they don't have the means or capacity to fight the claims.
If the Government is so hard up for money, maybe they could shut down our offshore processing centres, have multi-national companies pay their share of tax, mining companies to pay an environmental tax, or possibly spend slightly less on the defense budget?
Somehow I think it's not quite so much about money though.