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A statement regarding the Government’s Centrelink backflip that looks like a bellyflop - Wilkie

16 January 2017
Andrew Wilkie MP Independent Member for Denison

The Government’s indication it will modify the Centrelink debt recovery program, while a concession of sorts that there are problems, misses the point which is that the program is deeply flawed and must be shut down immediately.

What to do if you get a Centrelink debt recovery letter

9 January 2017
Fraser Coast Chronicle

Centrelink recipients across the region are being told to pay back false debts sometimes amounting to thousands of dollars because of a faulty computer algorithm.
The Federal Government and Centrelink have come under heavy criticism from all quarters over the automated system that has been used to match welfare recipients' reported income.
Amid all the anger the government agency began using Twitter to refer welfare recipients to crisis support hotline Lifeline as the hashtag #notmydebt began trending on the social media platform.

Letter to Commonwealth Ombudsman

16 January 2017
Andrew Wilkie MP Independent Member for Denison

Thank you for investigating the debt notices that are currently being generated by the Department of Human Services.
I have now been approached by several current and ex-Centrelink employees who have recently left the Department due to the new debt recovery program. I am deeply concerned by what these employees have told me and summarise the information conveyed to me below:

Disability advocates add to calls to suspend Centrelink debt recovery system

5 January 2017

Disability advocates have put further pressure on the government to suspend its automated debt recovery system, while Centrelink continues to refer distressed and suicidal individuals to Lifeline.
Disabled People’s Organisations Australia, a collection of disability support and advocacy groups, has called on the government to immediately halt the recovery process, which has relied on a crude and automated data-matching process to begin chasing 169,000 debts from welfare recipients since July.

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.

Centrelink debt nightmare continues

4 January 2017
Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent Member for Denison

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, again called on the Government to put a halt to Centrelink’s flawed debt recovery process.
“I’ve now received over a hundred complaints from all around the country from people who have recounted deeply disturbing stories about Centrelink’s new debt recovery process,” Mr Wilkie said. “The Government has terrified countless people, ruined the Christmases of many and even driven some people to contemplate taking their own lives.


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