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Centrelink robo-debt program creating a 'climate of fear'

9 March 2017
Sydney Morning Herald

The Australian Taxation Office says the "robo-debt" debacle is not its fault and it is unhappy being publicly linked with Centrelink's controversial debt-recovery program.
Senior ATO officials told a Senate committee investigating robodebt on Wednesday that the ATO simply handed its data on taxpayers over to Centrelink's parent department, Human Services, which then used an automated system to raise debts.

Centrelink debt collection 'aggressive' debt collection tactics under fire in Senate inquiry

8 March 2017

Almost 85,000 welfare recipients were forced to repay Centrelink debts in the two months leading up to Christmas, new figures show.
Department of Human Services secretary Kathryn Campbell defended the need to call in debts over the Christmas period during a senate inquiry into the Centrelink “robo-debt” recovery scheme today.
Ms Campbell also blamed the level of media scrutiny on the scheme in January for escalating public concern and the amount of calls to Centrelink.
Department officials were also asked to address reports that a Centrelink recipient took their own life due to their concern about the debt they owed.

ACTCOSS calls on Sentator Seselja to support the suspension of the government’s debt recovery program

13 January 2017
ACT Council of Social Services Inc

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) supports ACOSS’s call for immediate suspension of the Centrelink debt recovery program (link is external), until such a time that all issues can be rectified and convene a roundtable to work through how to redesign the system, citing significant risks that the program is harming Canberra residents who have at some time in the past accessed income support entitlements.

Have your say: Senate Inquiry into Centrelink automated debt recovery

14 February 2017
ACT Council of Social Services Inc

The Federal Parliament has established a Senate Inquiry into the Centrelink automated debt recovery program (widely known as 'robo debt').
Your personal information does not have to be made public; you can choose to suppress your personal information, or make your submission confidential.
Submissions to the Inquiry are due Wednesday 22 March 2017.

No answer from Zed - local welfare recipients await action on Robo-Debt Program

31 January 2017
ACT Council of Social Services Inc

The ACT Council of Social Service Inc. (ACTCOSS) again today calls on Senator Zed Seselja to stand up for people in the ACT caught up in the Federal Government’s Centrelink Robo-Debt Recovery Program.
ACTCOSS Director, Susan Helyar, says that the government’s Debt Recovery Program is an unjust prosecution of our communities’ most vulnerable, who need support from local MPs.

Denison MP Andrew Wilkie tables Bill to stop Centrelink recovering disputed debts

13 February 2017
The Mercury

Independent Denison MP Andrew Wilkie has tabled a private members’ Bill to stop Centrelink making automatic deductions from payments made to people who were appealing debt notices.
Mr Wilkie said he was deeply concerned by Centrelink’s ability to cut payments while an appeal was underway.

Centrelink and Other Public Service Workers to Take Industrial Action

7 February 2017
ProBono Australia

Staff in the Department of Human Services including Centrelink workers are planning six days of rolling strikes over a stalled enterprise bargaining process and the auto-debt recovery program, according to the Community and Public Sector Union.
The union said Centrelink, Medicare and child support workers would strike and take other forms of industrial action at various times and various locations starting on 13 February.


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