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Centrelink staff ordered to ignore errors in automated debt notices

20 January 2017
The Hon Linda Burney MP
The Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services, ALP Member for Barton

The Turnbull Government must immediately suspend the Centrelink robo-debt debacle following more disturbing claims from a Centrelink whistleblower.
According to reports Centrelink assessors are being directed to ignore obvious errors in the calculation of debt, unless customers directly object.
Frequent errors in income assessment are said to include:
- Inclusion of income exempt allowances; 
- Exempt termination payment for pensioners; 
- Reported income being doubled by mismatching business names in the ATO and Centrelink systems;
- Inclusion of Paid parental leave; and 
- Incorrect application of 10% debt collection fees.
Centrelink’s auto-debt program is unfair and flawed. It must be suspended, immediately.
Labor has been calling on Mr Turnbull and Mr Tudge to suspend the robo-debt program for more than three weeks, but they just won’t listen.
The Turnbull Government must stop harassing pensioners, people with disability, vulnerable families and young people with debt collectors.
This debacle has gone on for long enough.
Centrelink should suspend issuing debt notices until after a full and proper investigation is undertaken by the Commonwealth Ombudsman and a Senate Inquiry examines this mess.