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Centrelink robo-debt: public servants removed for asking too many questions, says Andrew Wilkie

16 January 2017
Noel Towell

Centrelink public servants who ask too many questions about their agency's controversial "robo-debt" recovery effort are being "managed" out of debt recovery units, according to independent MP Andrew Wilkie.

The Tasmanian independent also alleges public servants are being played against each other by managers, competing for the highest daily quota of debt notices.


The MP says he has had conversations with former Centrelink employees who have left their jobs because of the ongoing robo-debt debacle.


Mr Wilkie wrote that his informants described public servants being pressured by managers.

"The focus has very much been on quantity over quality," the MP wrote.

"Officers are given a quota of 6-10 debt notices a day and encouraged by senior departmental staff to compete against each other for the highest quota.

"Officers are discouraged from looking too closely at complex cases and have been managed out of debt recovery if too many question are asked."

Centrelink's spokesman Hank Jongen issued a statement on Monday disputing much of the content of Mr Wilkie's letter.