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Confusion in Centrelink about removal of six-year expiry date on debts

18 January 2017
The Mandarin

Before January 1, Centrelink debts expired if the agency ignored them for six years. Now it can pursue them at any time like the Tax Office, but within the agency there is confusion about the implications.
[...]
There’s apparently a view in the agency that now there is nothing stopping the automated compliance program from going back through tax and welfare records “indefinitely” to find new debts to raise.

Centrelink debt recovery scheme: Ombudsman to meet welfare groups this week over controversial program

17 January 2017
ABC News

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is wasting no time in starting its investigation into the Federal Government's welfare debt claw-back scheme, scheduling meetings around the country this week to quiz welfare groups about the impact of the controversial project.
The Ombudsman's office said it would be holding roundtable discussions with "stakeholders" as part of the investigation it launched earlier this month.

Government concedes ground on Centrelink debt letters, as its popularity plunges

16 January 2017
New Daily

The Turnbull government will make a series of changes to Centrelink’s controversial debt recovery system after weeks of politically damaging criticism.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has instructed his department to amend the recovery process.
This is despite the government’s continued insistence that the computer-run scheme, which claws back alleged overpayments, is a success.

New ReachTel poll shows Turnbull popularity slammed over Centrelink, entitlements saga

16 January 2017
news.com.au

An Australian of the Year finalist has also become embroiled in the Centrelink debt recovery debacle, after being sent an incorrect debt notice due to the automatic debt recovery system.
Queensland medical researcher Dr Janet Hammill, who works voluntarily and lives off the age pension, was sent a debt notice for $7600, The Guardian reports.
[...]
The latest reports comes as a new poll shows the Turnbull Government’s popularity has taken a hit in the wake of problems with the Centrelink debt recovery system and MPs’ entitlements.

Centrelink robo-debt: public servants removed for asking too many questions, says Andrew Wilkie

16 January 2017
SMH

Centrelink public servants who ask too many questions about their agency's controversial "robo-debt" recovery effort are being "managed" out of debt recovery units, according to independent MP Andrew Wilkie.
The Tasmanian independent also alleges public servants are being played against each other by managers, competing for the highest daily quota of debt notices.

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