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Government must abandon Centrelink’s Auto-Debt Recovery Program to prevent further harm

17 January 2017
Australian Council Of Social Services

In a statement today, ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “This error-riddled Auto-Debt Recovery Program must be stopped without further delay. The tweaks announced by the Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge do not address the fundamental problems and serious concerns expressed by us and a broad range of stakeholders.

$76m welfare ‘overpayment’ will not be pursued, Department of Human Services says

20 October 2016

The government has written off $76 million in welfare overpayments, declaring it would cost more to chase the debt than to waive it.
The Department of Human Services overpaid 1.5 million people a total of $1.5 billion, an average of $1000 each, during 2015-16. It clawed back $920 million by deducting money owed from ongoing social security payments or tax refunds.

Tasmanian community sector sets up relief fund for people hit by welfare bills

15 January 2017

A disaster relief fund has been formed for Tasmanians struggling with the mounting stress of Centrelink’s controversial debt recovery system.
The state’s community service sector has rallied together to provide immediate support to Tasmanians needing legal advice, advocacy and support about their debt notices.

Coalition was aware of Centrelink debt recovery flaws

12 January 2017
The New Daily

The Government knew Centrelink’s debt recovery program would incorrectly tell clients they owed money if human oversight was reduced, but continued to do so in a bid to cut costs.
Cost-benefit analysis of the Centrelink program — which compares employment data from the Australian Tax Office and Centrelink — found more than 860,000 clients were wrongly told they had debts between 2010 and 2013.
The debt recovery program had human oversight during these years but more than 1 million discrepancies were found, with an average debt value of $1,400 per person.


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