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Second Liberal senator attacks Centrelink debt retrieval and demands solution

19 January 2017
Christopher Knaus

A second Tasmanian Liberal senator has criticised Centrelink’s debt recovery system, urging his colleagues to avoid “another talkfest” and “get the problems fixed”.

The recently elected Liberal senator Jonathon Duniam has written to the human services minister, Alan Tudge, to express concerns about the troubled system

He told Guardian Australia he had conveyed concerns raised with his office to Tudge and sought an urgent solution. 

“The debt recovery process has clearly caused unnecessary angst for people,” Duniam said. “With reports that some system-generated calculations have been significantly inaccurate there must be an improvement on this new process.

“I’ve written to the minister expressing the concerns raised with me and seeking an urgent fix to this situation. Rather than another talkfest by politicians, we just need to get the problems fixed.”

Duniam said he believed recently announced changes to the debt recovery system would “improve the process” and help resolve many of the current problems.

Fellow Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz has also criticised the system, saying a member of his extended family had been wrongly issued with a welfare debt notice.

“It would be fair to say that the manner in which this computer-generated letter-writing campaign got under way was not as robust as it might have been,” Abetz told ABC local radio this week.