The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, commented on the Senate inquiry into the botched Centrelink robo-debt debacle, which is holding a public hearing in Hobart today.
“Centrelink’s dodgy robo-debt program is still running amok,” Mr Wilkie said.
“By all accounts it is still spitting out thousands of incorrect debt notices a week, and indeed I continue to receive complaints from all around the country from people who have received debts they believe to be false.
“Today’s inquiry will be an opportunity for Tasmanian organisations such as TasCOSS and Mission Australia to tell the Parliament about the impact that this program is having on some of the most disadvantaged people in society.
“Just two weeks ago the Commonwealth Ombudsman said that Centrelink debt letters were unclear, that customers had problems collecting old payslips and that they were unable to get satisfactory answers from Centrelink staff when they queried a debt. I wrote to the Ombudsman requesting this inquiry and the findings are damning.
“The whole thing is a disaster and the community has been telling the Minister this since day one. I’ve been campaigning since December to have the flawed debt recovery program shut down. Let’s hope the Senate inquiry is the final straw.”
The inquiry is due to report by 21 June 2017. Another public hearing will be held in Launceston tomorrow.