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‘Backflip’ over Centrelink’s automated debt recovery program

16 January 2017
The Australian

The government has been accused of “backflipping” over Centrelink’s automated debt recovery program after it decided to give the system a facelift, as Labor demands improvements be made retrospective to include all affected welfare recipients.
Labor frontbencher Linda Burney declared Human Services Minister Alan Tudge had made a “stunning admission” after The Australian revealed he had directed his department to introduce a number of “refinements” as he attempts to deal with the political fallout.
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Tasmanian community sector sets up relief fund for people hit by welfare bills

15 January 2017
Mercury

A disaster relief fund has been formed for Tasmanians struggling with the mounting stress of Centrelink’s controversial debt recovery system.
The state’s community service sector has rallied together to provide immediate support to Tasmanians needing legal advice, advocacy and support about their debt notices.
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Centrelink hounds cancer survivor for debt

6 January 2017
The Australian

Tony Barber survived a battle with cancer.
But now the 29-year-old has to battle a bureaucratic nightmare after receiving a Centrelink debt notice for $4500 in the lead-up to Christmas.
His is one of many complaints about the automated Centrelink system the federal government is using to claw back $4 billion in overpayments and the way the system calculates welfare recipients' debts

Turnbull risks alienating voters one letter at a time

6 January 2017
The Australian

Malcolm Turnbull and his ministers are playing with political fire in their hunt for $4 billion in savings from the welfare system by sending off letters to thousands of Australians with a clear warning that debt collectors will be called in to recover old payments.
The blowback from voters is already dangerous and is certain to get worse when the vast program grows across time. The vitriolic complaints about the exercise during the past few weeks have been based on the first batch of 169,000 letters from Centrelink that assume welfare recipients need to repay some of their benefits. It is a taste of things to come.

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