"WE SWEAR BY THE SOUTHERN CROSS TO STAND TRULY BY EACH OTHER AND FIGHT TO DEFEND OUR RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES."
Centrelink robo-debt fiasco an attack on the poor
by Pas Forgione *
It would surprise the federal Coalition government — that assumes we dislike welfare recipients as much as it does — that one of its biggest problems at the start of the year is the Centrelink debt fiasco.
Over the past six months, 170,000 people received debt notices from Centrelink, with the number gradually rising to 20,000 a week.
By comparison, only 20,000 debt notices were issued for the whole of 2015.
The government’s method of detection is to match Australian Tax Office (ATO) data with Centrelink data, and to use inconsistencies found to calculate how much welfare recipients were over paid.
Earnings reported to ATO are averaged out over 26 weeks by the government’s computers, and then compared with earnings reported to Centrelink. This is where the problems started.