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Aussies panicking over Centrelink demands to pay up to avoid debt collector

5 January 2017
Emma Reynolds

from the article:

"I finally had enough and had a lengthy conversation with a Centrelink rep where the phone call went on for over an hour. I wouldn’t take no for an answer, so she did my review manually in minutes and then, sure enough, found I was not guilty at all. Human common sense overriding an incorrect computerised system.

“I was stressed and anxious about the debt and my case was straightforward, I couldn’t imagine any pensioner, person with a disability or illness trying to manoeuvre this system.”
Ms Herir’s ordeal is finally over, after she received a letter today confirming she owed nothing. The young woman is one of the lucky ones. Thousands of Aussies are being forced to pay back welfare payments because of suspected Centrelink computer errors.

“It was soon discovered they cannot be changed because a debt has already been raised,” she told news.com.au. “The issue now has to go through a full administrative review process. Even though staff can look at my payslips and know I do not owe the money, nothing can be done.

[...]

But Centrelink workers who told news.com.au they wanted to remain anonymous said the program was in chaos.

“The government is just cutting corners, calculating debts fast is their goal, and it’s just wrong,” said one. “Staff morale is so bad everywhere.”