The Senate inquiry into the Centrelink debt recovery process has revealed that the Government is paying private debt collectors commission only to rake back potentially incorrect automated debts from former Centrelink recipients.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has announced that Accenture, the company which botched the $800 million overhaul of the Australian Tax Office, has been awarded the first major contract for the “digital transformation” of the Centrelink payment system.
According to a Freedom of Information Request by the ABC, the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter and his Department claim to not have been informed about the Centrelink robo-debt debacle.
The FOI request reveals that Mr Porter did not receive any written briefings, documents or analysis about the program from Centrelink or his department before publicly proclaiming it was working "incredibly well", earlier this year.
External debt collectors hired by Centrelink as part of the government's controversial automated debt recovery program are being paid a commission for each debt they recover, a Senate inquiry has been told.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has sought to distance itself from Centrelink's controversial debt recovery program, telling a Senate inquiry it cannot be held accountable for how its data is used.
The Australian Taxation Office says the "robo-debt" debacle is not its fault and it is unhappy being publicly linked with Centrelink's controversial debt-recovery program.
Senior ATO officials told a Senate committee investigating robodebt on Wednesday that the ATO simply handed its data on taxpayers over to Centrelink's parent department, Human Services, which then used an automated system to raise debts.
Centrelink staff working on the agency's controversial debt claw-back program have been told to ignore errors in calculations and push through debts they know are incorrect, according to an anonymous letter written by a person claiming to be a Centrelink compliance officer.
Activist group GetUp! released the eight-page letter it received from a person claiming to have worked on Centrelink's automated data-matching project, known as the Online Compliance Intervention.
Centrelink's bungled robodebt recovery program will be investigated by a Senate committee today, with representatives from the tax office and department of human services among those to be grilled.