The federal government has again defended Centrelink's debt recovery system, saying the practice is not new and has been in place since 1990.
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, moved a motion in the House of Representatives shortly after midday today calling on the Minister for Human Services to acknowledge that the Centrelink debt recovery program has been a disaster and must be shut down immediately.
Mr Wilkie was responding to overwhelming community concern over the financial and emotional hardship the scheme has caused with about 4,000 incorrect debt notices being issued each week.
A copy of the motion follows in full.
The federal government has refused to make changes to the controversial data matching system that has resulted in thousands of welfare recipients being wrongly accused of owing money to the government.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie and the Greens today united to call on the government to shut down the "deeply flawed" system.
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, called on the Federal Government to urgently fix Centrelink’s automated debt collection system before Christmas.
Many members of the community will gain some comfort from the news that the Commonwealth Ombudsman will indeed investigate Centrelink’s controversial debt recovery system. I, and I understand my colleague Senator Nick Xenophon, had been pressing the Ombudsman for such an inquiry so this is a victory for common sense and appropriate oversight of government policy.
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, urged the Federal Government to call to heel Centrelink which is generating numerous incorrect debt notices and frightening the community with heavy-handed tactics and debt collectors.
Knowing that the Turnbull Government isn't finished with its five-seven year WPIT plan should send a shiver down our spines.
In the 2015-16 budget, the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation (WPIT) program was announced as the replacement for [the Income Security Integrated System (ISIS), set up in 1983 to oversee welfare payment deliveries, customer service, support and compliance activities for Centrelink]. The 2015-16 budget measure worth $60.5m is part of a $1.5 billion, seven-year program. The program was described by the Government as one of the world’s largest social welfare ICT transformations.
The Commonwealth public service is trying to "bully" Centrelink workers into staying silent on the government's "robo-debt" debacle, according to an independent federal MP.
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, commented on today’s explosive revelations by another Centrelink whistleblower regarding the Government’s dodgy debt recovery program.
Media reports that Centrelink staff are being bullied into silence ring true. There is no doubt that the Centrelink debt recovery program has reached the point of high farce, and I don’t doubt that both the Government, and by direction senior Centrelink management, are now pulling out all stops to try and silence the workers tasked with carrying out the program.