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.
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.”