I had to research all the facts and read the appropriately named SSAct, you should too, no case is the same.
Initial review officer (i requested after calling centrelink debt recovery) called once and left no message so concluded that i owed over 9k for moving from a share house to a home with a parent and not telling them.
Get letter from him, call him, ask to talk to his boss. Tell her that i don't agree that review has taken place, not contacted etc.
New review, same officer, call again, ask for boss say i dont think the review officer can be fair having already reached conclusion.
New officer, submit my stat dec and corresponding stat dec from character/material witness (best if not related but i used my parent)
Receive waiver for 3 reasons, 1: allowable time aka 6 week rule, centrelink only has 6 weeks to pursue debt from the day you last give info, not from when the last payment was or anything else.
2. Centrelink error. The stat decs showed that centrelink had lost documents. Receipts aren't given for documents 90% time.
3. Personal circumstances. Finanicial hardship isnt enough alone. If studying that is stressfull, say so. Other possible things occuring to you include having moved in last 3 months, being a job seeker, having sick family.
When speaking to debt recovery say that as you live off benefits you are in severe financial hardship and cant afford to pay. They will pause without interest for 3 months HOWEVER they will say in 3 months the department will seek to start debt recovery MAKE SURE TO SAY if my financial circumstances are the same i cannot afford to repay as i am in severe financial hardship. Can pause debt until job is found and making over 800 a fortnight (poverty line).
Getting a good review officer is luck of the draw, if you think you've struck out or receive a neg result call them back and ask speak to their boss. State that you dont think the review officer considered the relevant facts and arent sure if the review has taken place. Keep saying this. If they say the review has taken place ask for a more detailed summary and state that you would like the debt WRITTEN OFF BY THE SECRETARY OR A DELEGATE FOR A COMBINATION OF FACTORS SUCH AS AN INCORRECT REVIEW PROCESS.
Good luck and make sure to protect your liberty and rights with a cool head and considered legal approach.