Senior public servants have revealed that the Turnbull Government will cut funding which is meant to help catch serious criminals exploiting Centrelink, while Alan Tudge continues to target the most vulnerable with his error prone robo-debt system.
Alan Tudge’s attempts to explain his unethical leaking of personal information about Centrelink customers are inconsistent with the evidence given by his department to Senate estimates hearings just a few weeks ago.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has announced that Accenture, the company which botched the $800 million overhaul of the Australian Tax Office, has been awarded the first major contract for the “digital transformation” of the Centrelink payment system.
Damning independent legal advice raises the real possibility that Alan Tudge or his office may have broken the law by recklessly leaking the private information of a Centrelink client in an effort to cover up his bungled robo-debt debacle.
According to a Freedom of Information Request by the ABC, the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter and his Department claim to not have been informed about the Centrelink robo-debt debacle.
The FOI request reveals that Mr Porter did not receive any written briefings, documents or analysis about the program from Centrelink or his department before publicly proclaiming it was working "incredibly well", earlier this year.
The robo-debt system has been plagued by poor administration and a failure of Centrelink to communicate adequately with customers, according to the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s report into the system released this morning.
The damning report comes despite the Minister’s insistence earlier this year that “the system is working well”.
A Senate inquiry into Alan Tudge’s bungled robo-debt system has today revealed that Probe Group, a major debt collection contractor for Centrelink, is paid a commission on every debt it collects.
The senate inquiry into Alan Tudge’s bungled robo-debt system will hear first hand from Tasmanians over the next week as hearings are held in Hobart today and Launceston on Thursday.
The inquiry is expected to hear that despite Mr Tudge’s claims that the system is working well, it has actually been a disaster for the most vulnerable Tasmanians.
For all of the Turnbull government’s tough talk about welfare cheats they are simply making it harder for people to get in contact with Centrelink when their circumstances change. This is a kick in the guts for age pensioners who have already seen their pensions cut or for those with disabilities who are already being painted as bludgers by the Turnbull government.
This wilful blindness has to end - being creative with the facts might get you out of a tough media interview but it will do nothing for honest Australians just trying to do the right thing.
Something is very wrong at the Department of Human Services, Mr Tudge needs to admit he can’t improve services and cut 2,000 jobs in two years.
This Budget means Centrelink clients will wait longer for worse services.