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Centrelink officers told to chase debts they know are wrong: whistleblower

19 January 2017
Luke Henriques Gomes
The New Daily

Centrelink staff have been instructed to pursue debts they know are incorrect under the Turnbull government’s controversial debt clawback system, a whistleblower claims.

On Thursday, left-leaning activist group Get Up! released an anonymous letter from a Centrelink compliance officer who made five key allegations about the debt-recovery process.

The whistleblower said staff were directed not to fix errors around debts they were chasing, even if they had evidence.

Staff who did had their work rejected and incorrect debts would only be corrected if they were identified by the customer, they said.

The staff member also said incorrect debts were being generated by the inclusion of non-assessable income, by considering payments never actually made by Centrelink, or through a fault that doubled income from the same employer.

A 10 per cent recovery fee, added to the debt owed by some customers, was also being incorrectly applied, they said.

“I see these reviews everyday and I am horrified at what I am being directed to do,” the whistleblower wrote.