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How Turnbull plans to raise $4.6 billion from unemployed.

11 January 2017
No Place For Sheep

The Turnbull government plans to raise a windfall of $4.6 billion over the next four years, and this is how they intend to do it.
Centrelink is averaging annual earnings over every fortnightly reporting period. This means that you are determined by them to have earned income at the same time as you received unemployment benefits. Therefore, you must pay those benefits back.

No need to change Centrelink's debt recovery system: Minister

11 January 2017
ABC World Today

Centrelink's scandal-plagued debt recovery system is working perfectly fine, according to the Minister in charge.
The Human Services Minister, Alan Tudge, has spoken publicly about claims people are being incorrectly sent letters saying they owe money, dismissing suggestions that the system is broken.
Labor's described his defence of Centrelink's system as "laughable".
AUDIO

Centrelink staff, union demand action on debt notices

11 January 2017
Green Left Weekly

The staff tasked with adminstering Centrelink’s “robo-debt” system are under huge pressure too and are demanding an immediate halt to the punitive approach.
A Centrelink worker told Green Left Weekly that the system was implemented without staff being trained and that they were ill equipped to explain the debts.
“We haven’t been told anything about how the robo-debt system works,” they said. “We have just been instructed to direct people to the MyGov website. We have been finding out the specifics about how the debts are generated by listening to Hack [the Triple J afternoon news program] or reading articles on social media.”

Those with alleged Centrelink debt are turning to payday loans

11 January 2017
finder.com.au

Some Centrelink recipients that have been targeted in the department's new debt recovery endeavour are finding themselves in severe financial stress, with some looking at taking out a payday loan to get by. Speaking to the Herald Sun, Centrelink recipient Michael Bond said issues relating to debt recovery were affecting his Medicare payments. He and his family, who reside in Melbourne, are owed $500.

Hunter residents caught up in controversial Centrelink debt collection issue

11 January 2017
Maitland Mercury

A Metford man has slammed the federal government after he received a letter from Centrelink telling him he owed thousands of dollars, saying the situation was “a debacle”.
Danny Gilligan is one thousands across Australia who believe they have been wrongly targeted by the welfare agency, which has drawn widespread criticism in recent weeks as similar stories have emerged.

Debt debacle is a perfect storm

11 January 2017
Innovation Aus.com

Shadow Human Services minister Linda Burney has accused the Minister responsible for the Centrelink debt recovery debacle of “going into hiding” over the issue as an independent investigation into the process has been announced.
Ms Burney says that Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge has returned from holidays but has not addressed the issue, leaving it to the department to respond to the barrage of public criticism.

Centrelink Minister Finally Emerges, Says Everything Is Fine

11 January 2017
Huffington Post

As the Centrelink debt recovery scandal grew and grew and grew over the holiday period, the responsible politician -- human services minister Alan Tudge -- was nowhere to be seen. He was on holiday, and certainly didn't rush back to work when all hell was breaking loose as people were issued with thousands of dollars in debts they claimed they didn't owe, Centrelink's phone services were swamped, and huge questions were raised over the fairness and accuracy of the new automated system.

Well, Tudge is back at work, and went on ABC Radio National on Wednesday morning to talk about the drama. His response can be summed up thusly:

Even doctors are getting screwed by Centrelink

11 January 2017
Herald Sun

Doctors from top Australian universities say they too were hit with erroneous Centrelink debt notices — and even they can’t seem to fix the mistakes.
Darren O’Connell, who has a PhD in economics and lectured at Curtin University, told news.com.au he has tried eight times since November to get his inaccurate debt removed from the system, but the letters keep coming.

Minister unaware of anyone 'convinced' they have false Centrelink debt notice

11 January 2017
Guardian

The human services minister, Alan Tudge, says he is unaware of any Centrelink recipient who is “completely convinced” they have been given a debt notice they do not owe.
Tudge spoke on the Centrelink debacle for the first time since his return from summer holidays on Wednesday morning, saying he was committed to maintaining the government’s controversial automated debt-recovery system.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge defends controversial Centrelink system

11 January 2017
news.com.au

The federal government is standing by its controversial Centrelink debt recovery system despite widespread criticism.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge insists the automated process is not flawed, saying more than $300 million worth of overpayments has been correctly recouped.
“The system is working and we will continue with that system,” he told ABC radio this morning.

People punished for government mistakes

11 January 2017
Maitland Mercury

There’s a stink of injustice emanating from the federal government’s latest attempt to stick its hands in the pockets of Australian citizens.
The Department of Human Services issued an unwelcome Christmas greeting to thousands of people late last year, as it sent debt notices across the nation in an effort to claim back overpayments from welfare agency Centrelink – many dating back several years.

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