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Ombudsman to investigate 'false' Centrelink debts

9 January 2017
Primrose Riordan
Australian Financial Review

The Commonwealth Ombudsman Colin Neave will  investigate the government's controversial data matching-driven welfare debt collection system aimed at recouping as much as $4 billion in false payments.

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Mr Porter has defended the system, saying he did not think it was unfair or unreasonable.

"We have a responsibility to the taxpayer to make sure that welfare recipients are not overpaid. Where there is  information which is available to us as a government, which suggests that the earnings reported to Centrelink are different to the earnings reported by the employer to the ATO, we have a responsibility to check and to seek further information," he said. 

The Ombudsman's office said Mr Neave had started to look into the complaints.