Robo-debt to be reviewed again
A new investigation into Centrelink’s robo-debt recovery program has been announced this week.
The automated debt recovery scheme saw thousands of people incorrectly targeted by the data-matching system designed to correct over-payments.
Around 20,000 welfare recipients were told to pay back incorrect amounts.
Independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie says the commonwealth ombudsman has agreed to launch a new investigation into the program.
Mr Wilkie said people who provide pay slips rather than bank statements could be incurring higher debts.
In some cases, he says people could receive double or triple debts because their employer has been recorded under several different names.
“The fact is that the robo-debt system should have been shut down a long time ago,” he said.
“But instead the government has continued to let it loose on everyday Australians, saddling them with nonsensical and often incorrect debts, sometimes in the tens of thousands of dollars.”
The ombudsman agreed to investigate Mr Wilkie’s complaint and seek further information, including copies of debt notices the MP said backed his claims.
Mr Wilkie said he does not have a problem with Centrelink clients who had been genuinely overpaid having to hand the money back.
“You do need a system but it’s got to work. This system doesn’t work and it can’t be made to work,” he said.