Centrelink has admitted its review system to dispute debts is too slow to save people from false debts, taking an average of 49 days to resolve despite debts being due within 28 days.
In the News
Centrelink says more than 8600 reports of customer aggression towards its staff last financial year is an improvement, but its main workplace union says the welfare agency is hiding the extent of the problem.
The agency's bosses insist the workplace safety situation is improving but the union says plummeting customer service standards are driving high levels of verbal and physical aggression towards frontline Centrelink workers.
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.
By substituting manual checking of data for a computerised algorithm in a typical Coalition cost-cutting exercise, Centrelink now faces thousands of man hours dealing with the debacle including a frenzy of class action suits.
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.
Firm stops short of committing to legal action, saying it is ‘reviewing Centrelink’s conduct’
Last week Tasmania’s community support organisations pooled $12,000 to provide support for people targeted by the controversial debt-recovery program.
The father and fulltime carer of a Brisbane boy who as a baby lost his legs to meningococcal is the latest victim of the Government’s bungled Centrelink debt recovery system.
A Geelong man has slammed Centrelink for unnecessarily sending a debt collector to get back the $150 he was overpaid.
Tasmania's Liberal Government wants the Commonwealth to delay the expansion of Centrelink's troubled debt recovery program.
Shannon Moore of East Kurrajong is still furious months after being threatened with legal action over a supposed $2500 Centrelink debt.
Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz says concerns he raised about Centrelink’s debt recovery program after realising he had an affected relative have now been allayed.
Centrelink's debt recovery system will be scrutinised by a Senate inquiry, as Liberal MPs join Labor and social services groups in complaining about the automated welfare crackdown.
Centrelink staff have been instructed to pursue debts they know are incorrect under the Turnbull government’s controversial debt clawback system, a whistleblower claims.
Centrelink staff working on the agency's controversial debt claw-back program have been told to ignore errors in calculations and push through debts they know are incorrect, according to an anonymous letter written by a person claiming to be a Centrelink compliance officer.
Activist group GetUp! released the eight-page letter it received from a person claiming to have worked on Centrelink's automated data-matching project, known as the Online Compliance Intervention.
Centrelink is deliberately ripping-off thousands of Australians caught up in its data matching "robo-debt" program, with managers telling public servants at the agency to enforce debts they know are bogus, according to explosive new claims.
Another whistleblower has come forward with an insider's account of how the "debts" are being pursued, alleging that glaring errors are being deliberately ignored by Centrelink to allow it to extract money from its clients.
Centrelink says concerns reportedly emanating from some of its staff — via their union and a left-leaning activist group — are the result of misunderstanding the complexity of the welfare system and personal disagreements with policy and technological change.
In response to the most serious allegations since the “#notmydebt” campaign began to push back against the agency’s letters asking people to clarify differences between information about past welfare payments and tax data, spokesperson Hank Jongen implies that some employees either don’t understand or don’t agree with how the system works.
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, writes Stephen Easton, journalist with The Mandarin.
The highest concentrations of those on unemployment benefits tend to be in low-income areas of the big cities and remote regions with high indigenous populations. I.e. not seats the Coalition is ever likely to win.
New whistleblower says staff ‘are struggling daily with our consciences’ after being told not to correct errors they see unless the customer points them out