Brotherhood Library Staff will monitor press and add to this post throughout the current week
12 January 2017
Centrelink cuts hurting the neediest — Hobart Mercury — It appears it will be some time before anyone from Centrelink or the Turnbull Government admits it, but Centrelink’s effort to recover “debt” from tens of thousands of welfare recipients has been poorly conceived and executed.
Centrelink data system to be ‘refined’ — The Australian — Centrelink’s controversial data-matching program will be “refined”, as the Turnbull government tries to deflect mounting political pressure from welfare groups and Labor for it to be suspended. The Australian Council of Social Service yesterday joined the federal opposition in calling for a halt to the scheme and an independent review, declaring that the automated debt-recovery program was treating current and past Centrelink recipients “like second-class citizens”.
Centrelink debacle shows Menzies’ safety net has lost its way — The Sydney Morning Herald — Given the current furore over the Centrelink debt-recovery debacle, this is a fascinating reminder of how far politics has shifted since then. Despite …
Centrelink debt anger boiling over — Hobart Mercury — Centrelink’s controversial debt recovery system should be immediately suspended, say Tasmanian MPs who have been inundated with complaints about debt notices.
Centrelink debt recovery: Government knew of potential problems with automated program – Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News – The Government knew Centrelink’s debt recovery program would incorrectly tell clients they owed money if human oversight was reduced, but continued to do so in a bid to cut costs.
Centrelink debt fiasco must end immediately — ACOSS Media release — ACOSS calls on the Australian Government to immediately suspend the automated Centrelink debt recovery program that is treating current and past Centrelink recipients like second-class citizens. ACOSS also calls for the program to be independently reviewed.
Centrelink staff ‘bearing the brunt’ of debt recovery system backlash – ABC Online
Centrelink system is working: Tudge — NEWS.com.au — The federal government is standing by its controversial Centrelink debt recovery system despite widespread criticism. Human Services Minister Alan …
Controversial debt recovery letters still on – The Sydney Morning Herald — Centrelink- Minister defiant Centrelink will resume posting controversial debt recovery letters to thousands of Australians, as Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has defended efforts to recoup incorrect welfare payments and denied the …
Centrelink Should Not Be Government ‘Weapon’ of Deficit Reduction — Pro Bono Australia– Vinnies has joined the chorus of welfare organisations demanding the government suspend the Centrelink debt recovery system, saying it should not be viewed as a “weapon” of deficit reduction.
Centrelink to resume debt letter push — The Age– Centrelink will resume posting controversial debt recovery letters to thousands of Australians, as Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has defended efforts to recoup incorrect welfare payments and denied the agency made fundamental errors.
How Centrelink debt letters are harming Australians’ mental health — ABC Online — After a botched attempt at automatically reconciling ATO records with Centrelink records without human oversight, around 170,000 welfare recipients …
Inside a Centrelink office: Chaos at branch as system flounders – NEWS.com.au
Public service Minister denies system is flawed Centrelink poised to resume debt letters — Canberra Times — Centrelink will resume posting controversial debt recovery letters to thousands of Australians, as Human Services Minister Alan Tudge defended efforts to recoup incorrect welfare payments and denied the agency made fundamental errors.
‘They don’t care about average Australians’: Centrelink staffer — The Sydney Morning Herald — Staff inside the Centrelink unit responsible for income reviews and eligibility assessments warned officials from the Department of Human Services …
11 January 2017
Centrelink debacle shows Menzies’ safety net has lost its way — The Sydney Morning Herald — It’s little-known now but Robert Menzies, the founding father of the Liberal Party, was also one of the greatest champions of equitable social welfare in this country.
Centrelink debt recovery system ‘fundamentally unfair’: Linda Burney — Australian Broadcasting Corporation Transcripts — Human Services Minister Alan Tudge is insisting that Centrelink’s debt recovery system is not flawed and will not be scrapped. The automated scheme has produced nearly 170,000 notices of potential overpayments since July, with thousands of …
Centrelink system is working: Tudge — SBS — Human Services Minister Alan Tudge insists Centrelink’s debt recovery system is working and the government won’t be agreeing to calls to …
Centrelink Minister Finally Emerges, Says Everything Is Fine — Huffington Post Australia
Centrelink ‘s debt recovery system working, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge says — Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News — Human Services Minister Alan Tudge says the Government will not scrap Centrelink’s debt-recovery system, despite ongoing warnings over inaccuracies.
It’s all about money, not people: Centrelink staffer — The Age– Staff inside the Centrelink unit responsible for income reviews and eligibility assessments warned officials from the Department of Human Services that automated data matching would lead to incorrect debts being issued to low-income and …
Minister defends Centrelink bills — NEWS.com.au
Overworked Centrelink staff brace for onslaught of calls — Your Life Choices — The Centrelink debt recovery saga is far from over, with hundreds of thousands of Aussies stretched to breaking point and Centrelink customer service staff preparing for the imminent onslaught of appeals.
10 January 2017
Botch-ups ‘unacceptable’ — The Age — Centrelink would be shut down for fraud for its conduct in the recent botched “debt” recovery efforts if it were a private company, according to the Commonwealth’s former digital government chief.
Centrelink’s debt debacle: It’s going to get worse, says union — The Sydney Morning Herald— Beleaguered Centrelink staff are bracing for a “perfect storm” of customer service problems in the coming weeks, heaping more misery on the welfare agency’s millions of clients, according to the main workplace union.
Centrelink staff to struggle with scandal — dailytelegraph.com.au — The public sector union is calling on the federal government to suspend its controversial Centrelink debt recovery system, warning the public will suffer as staff struggle to cope.
Could Centrelink be sued for issuing inaccurate debts? — SBS — If Centrelink is found to have breached its duty of care, those people wrongly issued debt notices have grounds to sue the social service, Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesperson Greg Barns told Guardian Australia.
DHS ‘confident’ in controversial system — Ballarat Courier — The Department of Human Services has said it is “confident” in its debt recovery system and denies the process is wholly automated. The system, which has generated 169,000 debt notices since July, has been challenged by scores of people in …
Ombudsman investigates Centrelink — The Age — Debt recovery- Outrage grows Pressure is growing on the Turnbull government over the Centrelink debt-recovery controversy, after the Commonwealth Ombudsman launched a wide-ranging investigation amid calls for the system to be shut down.
Ombudsman to look at ‘false’ Centrelink debts — The Australian Financial Review — The Commonwealth Ombudsman Colin Neave will investigate the government’s controversial data matching-driven welfare debt collection system aimed at recouping as much as $4 billion in false payments.
Welfare cash chase is way off target — Hobart Mercury — The Federal Government’s attack on welfare recipients is as deliberate as it is wrongheaded, says Peter Whish-Wilson At Christmas, thousands of Australians received a letter from the government, some on an Australian Federal Police …
9 January 2017
Burst of forgetfulness around Centrelink’s debt collection efforts — The Australian — Labor’s human services spokeswoman, has written to the Australian National Audit Office requesting they investigate Centrelink’s controversial $4.5 billion debt clawback project amid ongoing accusations that it is unfairly targeting people and miscalculating bills.
Canberra must do a better job selling its reforms — The Australian — Voters need to understand the changes to pensions It is not surprising there has been a backlash against two federal government initiatives designed to maximise the value of money spent on welfare: when politicians start cutting rather than …
Centrelink target ‘was picked by Labor system’ — The Australian — The federal government has hit back at Labor attacks over a $4 billion welfare crackdown, rejecting claims of a Centrelink “victim” and insisting he was never targeted by the automated data-matching system at the centre of the political …
Centrelink debacle: How we got into this mess — The New Daily — The Commonwealth Ombudsman has launched an investigation into the Centrelink debt recovery debacle – which both major parties played a hand in creating.
Centrelink debacle shows insensitivity to the most vulnerable — Hobart Mercury — It is shameful that Centrelink has sent aggressively worded letters to clients, says Greg Barns ANDREW Wilkie, the independent federal MP for Denison, said last week that some people who have, over the Christmas break, received aggressive …
Centrelink would be ‘shut down for fraud’ over debt letters, says Malcolm Turnbull’s former digital guru — The Age — Centrelink would be shut down for fraud for its conduct in the recent botched “debt” recovery efforts if it were a private company, according to the Commonwealth’s former digital government chief.
Let them eat Centrelink debt notices — Crikey — There couldn’t have been a more stark set of political controversies over the summer break than Centrelink’s failed algorithm chasing money from the most vulnerable and Health Minister Sussan Ley buying an apartment on a whim while visiting…
‘No apology’: Government doubles down on Centrelink debt clawback — The Age: POLITICAL NEWS — Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has said the government makes ‘no apology’ for pursuing people’s debts as it continues to face the furore surrounding Centrelink’s troubled $4.5 billion debt recovery mission.
Oh, that old thing? A burst of forgetfulness around Centrelink ’s debt collection efforts — The Australian — CUT & PASTE Plus: The science is settled on drinks boozy and soft, and Trump drives a pundit to tears Labor to the rescue! Fairfax reports exclusively on the opposition’s efforts to stop Centrelink debt collections, Fairfax websites, Friday:…
Ombudsman launches investigation into Centrelink debt recovery crisis — The Guardian — Move comes as Bill Shorten demands automated system be dumped after ‘a summer from hell for thousands of people’ The ombudsman has launched a broad, self-initiated investigation into the Centrelink automated debt recovery scandal, as the …
8 January 2017
The ‘cruelty’ of the Centrelink cash grab may just be starting — The New Daily — With a flagged $4 billion to be recovered over four years, Centrelink’s demand letters over alleged debts could be just the start.
6 January 2017
Advocacy groups fear that vulnerable youth and people with disability might not… Burnie Advocate — Advoacy groups fear that vulnerable youth and people with disability might not have the resources and support to challenge possible incorrect Centrelink debt notices.
Agency referring Twitter users to Lifeline amid debt-recovery efforts — The Age — Amid growing controversy about Centrelink’s new automated debt recovery methods, the agency is using Twitter to refer welfare recipients to a crisis support hotline and offer assistance from trained social workers.
Centrelink cut South Australian student’s payment without warning, MP claims — Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News — A South Australian high school student is “begging and borrowing from friends” after Centrelink cut off her payment just before Christmas, NXT Member for Mayo Rebecca Sharkey says.
Centrelink debt recovery only hurts poor — The Sydney Morning Herald — Peter Martin suggests that we follow the journalists’ adage “it’s a stuff-up, not a conspiracy” to explain the Centrelink debt debacle (“Centrelink’s litany of inhuman errors”, January 5). While this adage is usually reliable, I have to …
Disability advocates add to calls to suspend Centrelink debt recovery system — The Guardian — Disabled People’s Organisations Australia fears system is having unfair impact on those with disability Disability advocates have put further pressure on the government to suspend its automated debt recovery system, while Centrelink …
Don’t blow it, retirees — Gold Coast Bulletin — Retirees worried about losing money under tougher new Centrelink rules have been warned to avoid going on a spending spree that reduces their assets but protects their pension payments.
Info watchdog assessing Centrelink system — AAP Bulletins — The information watchdog is assessing Centrelink’s data matching system. There are widespread complaints welfare recipients have been wrongly hounded over debts because of system faults.
Inquiry into ‘welfare overpayments’ — The Australian — The federal privacy watchdog has launched an investigation into claims that welfare recipients have been wrongly issued with overpayment bills because of a shoddy data-matching scheme.
Sort out Centrelink not dollar milk: independent MP Cathy McGowan … — ABC Online — For more than eight months, some dairy farmers have been trying to access the Farm Household Allowance from Centrelink, which was …
This Man Got A Centrelink Debt For A Time He Wasn’t Even On Centrelink– Huffington Post— Brett, from Sydney, was told by Centrelink on Thursday that he’d been overpaid and that he owed them $2360.06. They cited two periods in the past, one in 2013 and another from mid-2014 to mid-2015, when they claim he’d been working and therefore not entitled to benefits…
Youth targeted by debt letters — Launceston Examiner — Advocacy groups fear that vulnerable youth and people with disability might not have the resources and support to challenge possible incorrect Centrelink debt notices.
5 January 2017
Centrelink debt recovery only hurts the poor — Brisbane Times — Peter Martin suggests that we follow the journalists’ adage “it’s a stuff-up, not a conspiracy” to explain the Centrelink debt debacle …
Centrelink fiasco means the political year starts under a welfare cloud – The New Daily
Citizenship not the issue — Herald-Sun — Peter Dutton’s mooted changes to the citizenship test are pointless (“Citizen test on values, not trivia”, HS, Jan 4). Migrants don’t need Australian citizenship in order to obtain Centrelink payments and a Medicare card — they only need …
Imperfect match causing all the fuss — The Age — As many as 170,000 Australians have received letters from Centrelink questioning their eligibility for some government benefits. Centrelink’s new automated computer system matches income and employment data from across government agencies.
Rise of robots is killing true welfare — The Age — That Centrelink recipients are victims to none-too-bright robots is scandalous. These days the Leyland P76 is the butt of jokes, but it started out as a good car. The only one specifically designed for Australia, it had a roomy interior, …
Welfare debt row — Herald-Sun — The Ombudsman has been asked to probe Centrelink’s new data-matching system after thousands of people were wrongly sent letters stating they had welfare debts.
What to do if you receive a social security debt letter — The Age — For the past few weeks, their phone lines have been jammed almost constantly. Graham Wells, principal lawyer at Social Security Rights Victoria, which provides legal advice and help for people battling various Centrelink complaints, says the…
- For the past few weeks, their phone lines have been jammed almost constantly. Graham Wells, principal lawyer at Social Security Rights Victoria, which provides legal advice and help for people battling various Centrelink complaints, says the…
- Debt recovery – ‘Bringing some people to the edge of suicide’ Centrelink’s contentious debt recovery system is making some of the targeted people feel suicidal, independent MP Andrew Wilkie has claimed, as the furore over the clawback …
4 January 2017
Asylum-seekers in welfare net — The Australian — Asylum-seekers on temporary visas have been caught up in the federal government’s $4 billion welfare debt recovery controversy, with some being told they owe thousands in allegedly overpaid money and risk their future residency if they …
Calls for Centrelink to suspend debt recovery system0:30 — dailytelegraph.com.au — Australia’s Social Services Minister Christian Porter says the Centrelink debt … He dismissed claims there were problems with the Centrelink website.
Centrelink debt is terrifying people — AAP Bulletins — Centrelink debt notices are pushing some welfare recipients to the brink of suicide, an independent MP has warned.
- Andrew Wilkie has asked the Commonwealth Ombudsman to investigate faults with Centrelink’s new automated data matching system …
- Disability campaigner Nicole Rogerson says her son Jack, 21 who is autistic, was pursued by a private debt collector for a $3000 Centrelink debt until she intervened.
Centrelink ‘debt’ pushing people to the brink: MP — Yahoo7 News — Centrelink debt notices are pushing some welfare recipients to the brink of suicide, an independent MP has warned.
Centrelink debt recovery culls $300m, says minister — The Age — The federal government says Centrelink’s controversial new automated debt recovery methods are working “incredibly well”, recovering about $300 million in taxpayer money since July.
Centrelink’s robo-debacle is a litany of human error — The Canberra Times
‘Hit with a scary $25000 demand’: Centrelink debt scandal hits Aboriginal communities — SBS
Homeowner tag hits pensioners in villages — The Australian — Older Australians who paid large upfront sums to live in retirement villages are arguing they should no longer be categorised as “homeowners” by Centrelink because they are left so much worse-off under the government’s pension changes.
Ombudsman asked to investigate Centrelink — AAP General News– Labor’s spokeswoman on human services Linda Burney called for the system to be suspended immediately until an algorithm is fixed. “The way in which the debt is being calculated is absolutely wrong,” she told Nine Network.
- The federal government is looking to claw back $4 billion in overpayments
- Social Services Minister Christian Porter insists the system is working “incredibly well” and the complaint rate was low – only 276 complaints out of 169,000 …
- The Commonwealth Ombudsman has been asked to investigate faults with Centrelink’s new automated data matching system that has resulted in welfare receipients being wrongly hounded to pay debts.
Porter flags broader debt recovery effort — The Australian — The federal government has vowed to extend its program to recover $4 billion in welfare debts from almost two million Australians despite admitting to “small instances” where people are being asked to refund money they do not owe.
What has caused the controversy for Centrelink? — Brisbane Times — As many as 190,000 Australians have received letters from Centrelink questioning their eligibility for some government benefits, as a new …
3 January 2017
Asylum-seekers in welfare net — The Australian — The Australian has obtained letters relating to one case where an asylum-seeker from Afghanistan was issued with a debt notice for almost $2000 apparently incurred when he was working part-time two years ago.
Broader debt recovery flagged — The Australian — Social Services Minister Christian Porter declared the program to be working so well it would be ramped up over the next four years, as he ridiculed Labor demands to suspend it in order to stop the false claims for refunds.
Calls for Centrelink to suspend debt recovery system until ‘flaw’ is fixed — 9news.com.au
Centrelink debt system faces growing chorus of criticism — The Age — Low-income Australians receiving housing support and other welfare services have joined widespread criticism of Centrelink, as the agency faces sustained questions about its new automated debt recovery processes.
Centrelink bungle ‘terrifying people’ — NEWS.com.au — The Commonwealth Ombudsman has been asked to investigate faults withCentrelink’s new automated data matching system that has …
Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system working ‘incredibly well’: Minister Christian Porter — The Guardian — The federal government says Centrelink’s controversial new automated debt recovery methods are working “incredibly well” and only attracting a tiny number of complaints, while recovering about $300 million in taxpayer funds since July.
Homeowner tag hits pensioners — The Australian — As of January 1, if a person made an upfront contribution of more than $200,000 to live in a retirement village, they are categorised as a “homeowner” by Centrelink — a nomination that has a bearing on their pension payment.
Minister defends ‘polite’ debt letters — AAP Bulletins — The social services minister has defended Centrelink’s “polite” debt letters generated by a new automated system amid criticism some welfare recipients have been hounded over false debts.
Minister defends Centrelink debt recovery — AAP General News — He declined to provide the number of people who are challenging the debt letters. Mr Porter said the letter asks people to provide more information which they can do online.
What should you do if you get a Centrelink debt letter? — In-Depth–The Sydney Morning Herald — For the past few weeks, their phone lines have been jammed almost constantly. Graham Wells, principal lawyer at Social Security Rights Victoria, which provides legal advice and help for people battling various Centrelink complaints, says the organisation has been run off its feet in the wake of the debt-recovery saga plaguing the agency over the summer break.
2 January 2017
Centrelink faces sustained criticism over its new automated debt recovery system — The Guardian — Low-income Australians receiving housing support and other welfare services have joined summer criticism of Centrelink, as the agency faces sustained questions about its new automated debt recovery processes.
‘This is the biggest issue in Australia’: Centrelink debacle gets worse — dailytelegraph.com.au — The Centrelink debacle is getting worse, with more Australians each day revealing they have been slugged with demands to pay back tens of …
30 December 2016
January 1 price rises and benefit cuts: what you need to know — The Guardian — They say life can change in an instant. Never is that more true than when the clock strikes midnight on December 31. Along with hangovers and dark circles under their eyes, Australians will awake on Sunday to a host of increased fees, …
Labor wants ‘crude’ Centrelink system ditched — The Age — Labor has joined calls for Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system to be halted or scrapped, amid reports low-income Australians are wrongly receiving letters of demand for thousands of dollars in possible overpayments.
29 December 2016
Labor calls for Centrelink’s ‘crude and inaccurate’ automated debt recovery system to be scrapped — The Guardian– Labor has joined calls for Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system to be halted or scrapped, amid reports low-income Australians are wrongly receiving letters of demand for thousands of dollars in possible overpayments.
21 December 2016
TAS:Threat of debt action must stop: Wilkie — AAP General News — HOBART, Dec 21 AAP – Welfare recipients are being incorrectly referred to debt collectors due to a glitch in Centrelink’s computer system, a federal politician says.
20 December 2016
“They said I am a fraud with Centrelink … it was all a shock to me.” NEWS.com.au — People on welfare are being forced to pay back thousands of dollars, withCentrelink sending out 20,000 letters a week chasing up money …
19 December 2016
12 December 2016
Reject a job offer, then no dole: Morrison — AAP Bulletins — Treasurer Scott Morrison has warned anyone who is unemployed and refuses to take a job should not get the dole. Government figures provided to News Limited showed nearly 36,000 people across the nation have quit jobs or knocked back job …
11 December 2016
Anger over welfare for multiple wives — Australian Associated Press General News — CANBERRA – Conservative MP Cory Bernardi says the payment of Centrelink spousal benefits to the wives of polygamous Muslim men is political correctness gone mad.
7 December 2016
5 December 2016
‘We lost the house, we lost everything’: what dealing with financial stress looks like — The Conversation — Dina Bowman receives funding from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, the Australian Research Council and philanthropic funding via the Brotherhood of St Laurence. She is a Principal Research Fellow in the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s … People in low income households have methods of getting by on what little they have and these work in the short term. But in the longer term a mess of factors hinder people’s capacity to make do, according to the preliminary results of our …
Welfare crackdown nets $4.5m a day — Australian Associated Press General News — CANBERRA – The federal government is clawing back $4.5 million in overpaid Centrelink payments every day thanks to a new computer system.
28 November 2016
Fresh wave of strikes to hit Centrelink, Medicare — The Guardian — Centrelink and Medicare are to be hit with a fresh wave of strikes next week with thousands of public servants working at the agencies set to walk off the job.
Scammers target welfare recipients — Australian Associated Press General News — CANBERRA – Scammers pretending to be from the Department of Human Services or Centrelink have ripped $27,000 from their victims.
18 November 2016
Scullion must stop Larrakia Nation closure — Australian Associated Press General News — DARWIN – A Northern Territory Aboriginal corporation which provides vital services to the disadvantaged may have to close its doors due to red tape issues ignored by the federal government, the opposition says.
3 November 2016
Telecommunication poverty an issue: report — Australian Associated Press General News — ADELAIDE – People on low incomes are struggling to afford the communication services they need to look for work and access government services, a report has found.
24 October 2016
Tougher work search test for jobless — Australian Associated Press General News — CANBERRA – The federal government could soon tighten access to the dole by imposing stricter work search requirements on job seekers.
22 October 2016
Centrelink asks paralysed man to prove he deserved pension — The Guardian — Even with the help of two carers it can take Josh up to two hours to get ready every morning. The 21-year-old has muscular dystrophy, a degenerative disease that slowly breaks down muscles, paralysing the sufferer.
Centrelink hangs up on 29 million calls, Senate estimates hears — The Guardian
16 October 2016
Govt to pensioners: call Centrelink — Australian Associated Press General News — SYDNEY – Pensioners concerned about a new assets test can seek clarification from Centrelink now, federal cabinet secretary Arthur Sinodinos says.
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