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Ancient Skeleton Found Frozen In Ice Reportedly On Hold With Centrelink

21 February 2017
SBS comedy

Local authorities were shocked to discover that a pile of ancient human remains found in a shelf of ice and recovered today belong to an early human believed to have died while on hold to Centrelink, a call that remains on hold to this very day.
Those investigating the incident have claimed that they were surprised by the discovery:
“We knew wait times were bad,” one insider told The Backburner. “But this fella has been frozen for hundreds of years. Frankly, even if he has his debts sorted out his phone bill is going to be an absolute mess.

Q&A: Laughter as George Brandis says debt recovery notices can be fixed by contacting Centrelink

21 February 2017
ABC News

Attorney-General George Brandis has engaged in a heated discussion about offshore detention centres on Q&A, but it was the senator's suggestion wrongly issued debt recovery notices could be resolved by contacting Centrelink that drew one of the biggest audience responses.
The program had heard from Lyndsey Jackson, the creator of a website for people who had wrongly received letters as part of the debt recovery scheme, who said hundreds of people were suffering anxiety as they were forced to disprove the claims.

Centrelink debt system: government knew of error risks 'for decades'

17 February 2017
Guardian

The man who led the first audit of Centrelink data-matching in 1999 says the government has known for decades that the process was prone to error without human oversight.
John Mayger, a retired auditor with the Department of Social Services, said his audit showed that detecting overpayments through data-matching was problematic without a high degree of staff vetting to provide an effective balance.

Centrelink boss Kathryn Campbell flies in for meeting with unhappy Tasmanian staff

17 February 2017
Mercury

The Mercury understands that the meeting was held in the Hobart Town Hall and Ms Campbell is in the state for three hours.
Community Public Service Union Tasmania secretary Paul Blake said Ms Campbell has held similiar question and answer sessions around the country.
Mr Blake said staff questions are vetted beforehand.
The controversial robo-debt policy and protracted staff wage negotiations are the source of growing frustration among union members, he said.

The wait continues at Centrelink and tips to navigate it

17 February 2017
The Age

Centrelink's phone lines are about to get better… no really, they're meant to, but you just have to wait a little longer for it to happen.
That's the line I'm getting from the Department of Human Services, which has copped a hammering in recent weeks over the government's controversial robo debt recovery scheme and its high error rates in clawing back overpaid welfare payments.

Not good enough: Labor slams Centrelink robo-debt changes

16 February 2017
SMH

Labor has dismissed the Coalition's effort to soften its controversial Centrelink "robo-debt" policy, with an opposition frontbencher demanding a government apology for those targeted by the program.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge announced on Tuesday evening that Centrelink, which has been sending private debt collectors to pursue debts raised under contentious data matching policy, will no longer demand payment for debts that are under review.

Joel Fitzgobbon: Centrelink crisis a hearltess act.

15 February 2017
Hunter Valley News

Centrelink's inability to adequately service its clients has reached crisis point. You can only squeeze so much from the lemon and funding and resourcing cuts should have stopped long ago.
[...]
The situation has been made worse thanks to the Turnbull Government's terrible debt recovery program. It's chewing up so many of Centrelink's limited resources and leaving people sick with worry over letters informing them that they owe large amounts of money.

‘Improvements’ for debt recovery system just fiddling around the edges: Greens

15 February 2017
Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia

The Government’s announcement of ‘improvements’ to the debt recovery system are fiddling around the edges and do not address the fundamental issues of the Centrelink automated debt recovery system, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

GetUp says govt should stop harassing people over 'debts'

15 February 2017
IT Wire

The activist group GetUp claims Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's government is shaking down ordinary people, often for debts they neither owe nor can effectively challenge.
The group's national director, Paul Oosting, said it would be launching a billboard criticising the government for failing to go after corporate tax cheats while it attacked ordinary people over "false" debt claims.
The billboard would be placed on the lawns of Parliament House on Friday, he said.

Have your say: Senate Inquiry into Centrelink automated debt recovery

14 February 2017
ACT Council of Social Services Inc

The Federal Parliament has established a Senate Inquiry into the Centrelink automated debt recovery program (widely known as 'robo debt').
Your personal information does not have to be made public; you can choose to suppress your personal information, or make your submission confidential.
Submissions to the Inquiry are due Wednesday 22 March 2017.

An own goal on digital progress

14 February 2017
InnovationAus.com

The government has formally tried to congratulate itself in the Parliament on its digital transformation of services in a sign of either “irony or grand self-delusion,” according to the shadow minister for the digital economy Ed Music.
[...]
The motion pointed to the government’s Centrelink technology, its health and aged care payment system and the MyGov online system.

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