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Coalition defends big data approach to welfare amid 'false debt' claims

3 January 2017
Primrose Riordan
Australian Financial Review

Social Services Minister Christian Porter has praised the big data welfare initiative he labelled the "single most important thing" he will do this parliamentary term, as Labor claims Australians are being hounded for false debts.

The radical welfare experiment aimed at using the power of big data to cut the number of people on welfare was announced in the May budget, and has seen individuals receive computer-generated letters informing them they have welfare debts after income reported to Centrelink was matched with information held by the Australian Taxation Office – often dating back a number of years.