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Ombudsman to probe Centrelink in wake of debt recovery debacle

9 January 2017
ZD Net

The Commonwealth Ombudsman Colin Neave has opened an investigation into the Centrelink automated debt recovery system that has come under fire for sending some letters demanding money repayment in error to welfare recipients.
A spokesperson for Neave told ZDNet the Ombudsman is aware of the concerns raised about the automated data matching system used by Centrelink, and has commenced an own-motion investigation into the matter.

Debt debacle is a perfect storm

11 January 2017
Innovation Aus.com

Shadow Human Services minister Linda Burney has accused the Minister responsible for the Centrelink debt recovery debacle of “going into hiding” over the issue as an independent investigation into the process has been announced.
Ms Burney says that Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge has returned from holidays but has not addressed the issue, leaving it to the department to respond to the barrage of public criticism.

A union claims almost every Centrelink debt letter is wrong and will bring a 'perfect storm' of complaints

10 January 2017
Business Insider Australia

Centrelink staff will not be able to cope in an expected “perfect storm” of customer enquiries arising out of the debt data-matching scandal, the union representing public service workers has warned.
The Community & Public Sector Union has demanded the federal government immediately suspend the automated big data system, which in the past week has been hammered for its lack of accuracy in determining debts.
“This scheme is an absolute nightmare for thousands of Centrelink customers who’ve done absolutely nothing wrong, and the staff who are bearing the brunt of this mess,” said CPSU assistant national secretary Michael Tull.

MINISTER: There's nothing wrong with Centrelink debt letters so we're not stopping them

11 January 2017
Business Insider Australia

It seems Centrelink’s data-matching woes will continue, with the federal human services minister digging his heels in and refusing to scrap the controversial system.
Coalition minister Alan Tudge, who returned to work from holidays this week, told ABC Radio National this morning that the “system is working” and that the debt recovery process would continue.

Note to Centrelink: Australian workers’ lives have change

11 January 2017
The Conversation

Centrelink’s new automated data-matching system is a source of ongoing controversy. It has resulted in a significant increase in the number of current and former welfare recipients assessed as having been overpaid and required to repay debts.
But debt problems do not really appear to be the fault of IT failure or the inappropriate use of big data. Rather, they appear to reflect an over-simplistic application of policy to the complexity of workers’ lives in a flexible labour market.

Centrelink Non Complience Process

10 January 2017
National Foundation for Australian Women

The National Foundation for Australian Women is profoundly concerned by the Ministerially approved processes for so-called debt-recovery from Centrelink clients, and calls on the Government to cease using the process pending receipt of a report from the Commonwealth Ombudsman.


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