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Why the Centrelink debt recovery programme is a health issue

21 January 2017
Dr Ruth Armstrong

Welfare and citizen groups have stepped up their opposition to the controversial Centrelink debt recovery programme, saying the minor changes announced earlier this week do not go far enough.


Croakey did a quick whip around yesterday to see if any health organisations had joined the calls for reasonable treatment of welfare recipients by our government, and found little sign of engagement.

There could be many reasons for this, including that excellent advocacy is already occurring elsewhere; that the government has the right to address welfare fraud; that the number of people affected is unclear and information is anecdotal; or that organisations are reluctant to put their relationship with government at risk, for fear of jeopardising their other activities.

Another possibly is that we continue to underestimate the connection between disempowerment and poor health.