Centrelink's 'robo-debt' effort should stop immediately, a Parliamentary committee says, after finding the program had a "profoundly negative impact on the lives of thousands of Australians."
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The federal government has been urged to suspend Centrelink's controversial robo-debt program until problems are fixed.
Social services minister says debt recovery system criticised in Senate inquiry is tackling ‘a massive amount of overpayments’ to claimants
The report of a Senate inquiry has recommended that Centrelink pause its automated data-matching program designed to claw back welfare overpayments.
The system has been criticised both for its accuracy and the impact on welfare recipients. The report of the Senate’s Community Affairs Reference Committee, tabled last night, recommended that the so-called Online Compliance Intervention (OCI) “should be put on hold until all procedural fairness flaws are addressed” and a range of other recommendations implemented.
A Senate committee has excoriated the controversial Centrelink 'robodebt' compliance system, calling for a radical overhaul of the welfare debt recovery program including an immediate re-assessment of invoices and recommending the entire scheme be halted until issues are ironed out.
The federal government has rejected a damning report into the Department of Human Services' 'robodebt' program that recommended it be immediately and indefinitely halted.
A Labor- and Greens-dominated Senate committee has called on the Government to suspend Centrelink's controversial debt recovery program until it reconciles "a fundamental lack of procedural fairness".
A Senate inquiry into the so-called robo-debt saga handed down its final report on Wednesday evening, after conducting hearings across the country.
The committee urged the government to put the program on hold until "a fundamental lack of procedural fairness" was addressed.
It handed down 21 recommendations aimed at fixing the "broken" program.
But Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, who is responsible for Centrelink, has shot down the report.
A Senate inquiry has called for Centrelink’s controversial automated debt recovery system to be suspended until its many flaws can be resolved.
The inquiry released its report on Wednesday night, which made 21 recommendations for fixing the robo-debt system.
The inquiry has urged all debts calculated using the error-prone “income averaging” process to be reassessed. It also called for a redesign of the system with a robust risk assessment process.
This is the third feature in Ben Eltham’s 2017 investigation into Centrelink’s robo-debt program. The first article in the series was published in January, and the second article in March.
Centrelink’s sprawling data-matching empire is opaque, error-prone and almost completely impossible to understand, writes Ben Eltham. And it’s expanding across government programs and agencies.
After listening to weeks of harrowing testimony, Siewert has found the Senate Inquiry a draining experience.
“You come out of those hearings and you feel really drained. The evidence we hear is very distressing – hearing of people’s experiences and feeling their sense of powerlessness and despair.”
A senate inquiry in to Centrelink's controversial robo-debt recovery scheme will reveal its findings later today.
With complaints of engaged signals and long wait times, the human services minister, Alan Tudge, told Raf Epstein if people are not getting through to Centrelink on the phone they could try going to their local office because "typically you wait about 10 minutes".
More than a third of Australian welfare debt recovery decisions have been overturned by the independent tribunal that oversees Centrelink.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has set aside 960 Centrelink debt decisions out of 2,699 appeals lodged between March 2016 and March 2017, while a further 132 were “varied”.
The majority of the decisions are likely too early to relate to the government’s controversial “robo debt” measure but Guardian Australia understands tribunal members are concerned about the looming workload caused by the government’s use of the automated system.
The office of Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has refused to release more than a dozen documents related to his decision to release personal information on a critic of his robo-debt notice system on the grounds it is legally privileged and would disclose personal information.
After months of searching, Crikey finally managed to track down the advice Tudge was relying on when his office released the personal information of blogger Andie Fox to a Canberra Times journalist, but now his office won’t hand it over.
A new privacy code will be developed for Australia’s public service in the wake of Centrelink’s “robo-debt” debacle, it was announced on Thursday.
An investigation is also being restarted to figure out how the minister for human services, Alan Tudge, was able to send internal departmental briefings to a journalist about a welfare recipient’s personal circumstances.
Timothy Pilgrim, the Australian privacy commissioner, said the new privacy code will be developed for Australia’s public service, with help from Martin Parkinson, the secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, to be implemented in 2018. He made the announcement on Thursday, during the final day of public hearings in a Senate inquiry into Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system.
The Australian federal police has said it will not investigate allegations the minister responsible for Centrelink unlawfully shared the private details of a welfare recipient with the media without their consent.
The human services minister, Alan Tudge, was told by federal police on Monday they would not be investigating the claims any further.
Centrelink began recalling all the “robo debts” it had sent to one of its external debt collection agencies in early January, an inquiry has heard, at the same time as federal ministers were publicly refuting suggestions the recovery process was unfair or inaccurate.
Australian Privacy Foundation tells Senate inquiry into ‘robo debt’ scandal there is no evidence guidelines were followed.
Scathing assessment comes as system again put under the microscope, this time by external auditors PwC Australia.
Victoria Legal Aid has described Centrelink’s robo-debt system as an “abject failure” which is an arguably unlawful response to the government’s self-inflicted budget problems.
An ombudsman’s report on the roll out of Centrelink’s automated debt recovery service has identified multiple failures that placed unreasonable burdens on welfare recipients and staff.
The self-initiated investigation was announced in January after months of complaints that the problem-riddled system was sending incorrect debt notices to people.