Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, will join with the Community & Public Sector Union to call on the Federal Government to apologise to Centrelink staff for putting them through having to administer the ill-conceived robodebt scheme.
“The robodebt scheme was always flawed, but this was never the fault of Centrelink staff.” Mr Wilkie said.
“Centrelink staff raised concerns repeatedly over a number of years but these concerns were swept under the rug. They were forced to continue administering the scheme, despite seeing first-hand the damage it was causing to recipients who were sent dodgy debts. This meant dealing with distressed, confused and sometimes suicidal people, often without any mental health training.
“Many staff bravely risked their jobs to blow the whistle on this illegal scheme. I was approached by a number of whistle-blowers who revealed how the debts were raised. This information proved essential in exposing the dodgy robodebt scheme in the media, and also prompting the Commonwealth Ombudsman to conduct their inquiries.
“It’s high time the Government apologised to everyone affected by robodebt. While thousands of Australians were victim to this scam, it was also devastating for the Centrelink staff who were caught in the middle and had to work with this deeply flawed and unlawful scheme.”