May 19, 2017

Human Services plans massive robo-debt expansion on pensioners

The Department of Human Services will continue with plans to expand the data it uses to chase people alleged to have been paid too much welfare.

Josh Taylor — Journalist

Josh Taylor


Secretary of the Department of Human Services Kathryn Campbell

From July 1, more Australian pensioners will be targeted by the controversial Centrelink automated debt notice system despite the controversy the program faced over the past few months.

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9 thoughts on “Human Services plans massive robo-debt expansion on pensioners

  1. Alan

    So, has this vicious mob just given up hope of winning the next election, and just running with their nasty instincts now?

  2. Dog's Breakfast

    “Department of Human Services deputy secretary Malisa Golightly”

    You have to be kidding me! Ironic?

    So are they receiving debt notices, or has the department seen the light and sent out ‘please explain’ letters, which they should have done with the first round?

    1. David Irving (no relation)

      They were always “please explain” letters, it’s just that Centrelink’s borked portal gives you no options to actually do so, and they don’t answer their phones.

    2. pinkocommierat

      Tread on the power-dressing Malisa’s toe in the lift and she will hunt you down and destroy you. According to her reputation, that is!

  3. billie

    DHS is continuing to use its faulty programs to hound a new cohort of welfare recipients, aged pensioners. There I have corrected your opening sentence.

    The faulty programs haven’t been changed because the modifications are probably in builds that will be rolled out in December 2017. The external contractors won’t start specifying the changes until the department signs off the specifications, then the programs will be written, scheduled for a build, tested, then rolled into production. Hmmm make that the December 2018 build.

    Of course the external contractors might not be working as they are paid by Plutus which wound up about a month ago

  4. billie

    “Department secretary Kathryn Campbell said it was data provided to the government by the individual, rather than the Pay-As-You-Go income data sent by employers to the ATO.”

    What a load of hooey!
    The current working age robo debt debacle is nasty because of a timing issue. Many employers issue group certificates saying
    Person X employed July 1 to June 30
    Person X reports their income in the fortnight it was earned
    Person X is paid in arrears, in 1996 Deakin University used to pay some lecturers a lump sum at the end of the semester

    To determine if a person has been overpaid you need to match their fortnightly welfare payments against their fortnightly reported work history before raising false debts.

    In this age of precarious employment Centrelink is unable to process welfare payments to people who take on precarious employment. Better to be paid cash in hand to avoid a robo-debt collector in 7 years time

  5. Michael

    Nobody seems to be at all concerned that our systems make so many incorrect payments in the first place; 10,000 notices per week seems awfully high. And do they top-up people who’ve been underpaid?

  6. Norm

    I’m not sure about this country’s privacy ‘code’, but in this digital age our privacy ‘laws’ need overhauling root and branch.

  7. AR

    To paraphrase Niemoeller,
    “When they came for the dole bludgers,
    I said nothing,
    When they came for me…”

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