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‘This is the biggest issue in Australia’: Centrelink debacle gets worse

4 January 2017
Emma Reynolds

Centrelink debacle is getting worse, with more Australians each day revealing they have been slugged with demands to pay back tens of thousands of dollars they don’t owe.

Furious Aussies, many of whom were on the dole for only a brief period years ago, are demanding action from the Government, which is denying a problem exists.


Many of the people sharing their stories on social media with the hashtag #notmydebt had the same issue, in which the system divides income into a fortnightly average. Others had different problems, including finding Centrelink was registering the same employer as two different ones because of a slight alteration in spelling.

For example, a woman employed by “University of Melbourne” and “Uni Melbourne” received a letter demanding $20,000 because the system believed she had a second full-time job, paying the same as the first.

Social media users described being left on hold for hours or being told they could only resolve issues online when the website wasn’t working. One said Centrelink sent messages to her old address and email before bringing in a private debt collector within a few weeks.

Witnesses report chaos in branches as streams of scared and frustrated people attempt to sort out the mess.