Policies that mitigate the stress of poverty and promote mental health would more effectively reduce the welfare burden than scaring individuals into paying back debts they're unlikely to have.
Centrelink will resume posting controversial debt recovery letters to thousands of Australians, as Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has defended efforts to recoup incorrect welfare payments and denied the agency made fundamental errors.
Standard procedures saw a halt to initial letters being sent to welfare recipients on December 3 last year, but thousands of Australians have reported receiving debt demands over the Christmas and New Year period, including some for tens of thousands of dollars.
Centrelink's controversial debt recovery system should be immediately suspended, say Tasmanian MPs who have been inundated with complaints about debt notices.
Independent Denison MP Andrew Wilkie and Labor MP Julie Collins have called for the system to be put on hold following an uproar about inaccurate notices.
As the federal government continues to tout its automated Centrelink debt recovery system as 'working well', independent politician Andrew Wilkie has called on the Commonwealth Ombudsman to investigate the 'flawed' process.
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.
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.
Melbourne barrister and spokesperson for Australian Lawyers Alliance Greg Barns told Daily Mail Australia in some cases Centrelink may have breached its duty of care to customers.
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.
The bungled Centrelink debt-recovery controversy has again come under fire with a Perth woman claiming she was hounded to pay back more than $26,000 she allegedly didn't owe.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman has launched an independent investigation into the Centrelink debt recovery scheme, which was been described as a "diabolical" failure by industry experts.