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Centrelink debts cause anxiety before Christmas

5 January 2017
Jessica Black
The Courier

A former Ballarat man who was notified of a $6000 debt to Centrelink just two days out from Christmas said he was “traumatised” by the experience.

The man, who did not wish to be named, had earned less than $12,000 in 2014-2015 when he is alleged to have racked up over half that in debt to the government agency.

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The recent university graduate had worked up to five part time jobs, including a month full time work at a university, but had also gone through periods of unemployment.

When he queried the debt, he was told by a Department of Human Services employee that the system was set up in such a way that “it did not understand casual employment”.

“That (debt) would have been all my savings and more,” he said. “When I received that I was absolutely devastated.”