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TURNBULL GOVERNMENT MUST GET ITS FACTS RIGHT ON WELFARE FRAUD

December 28, 2016

SENATOR LOUISE PRATT

ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR HUMAN SERVICES

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES

SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA

 

Honest, law abiding Australians are being falsely accused of committing welfare fraud because the Department of Human Services has got its facts wrong. 

Following recent reports of serious flaws in the Turnbull Government’s program, the opposition has written to the Minister for Human Services, Hon Alan Tudge, asking that the debt recovery action be paused.  

Many former and current Centrelink customers are being sent threatening letters demanding payment of debts – which they do not in fact owe. 

Despite government claims that $8 billion will be saved through welfare compliance measures, it is yet to provide any evidence or proof that its program works.  

The latest round of letters, which demand payment plus a 10 per cent “recovery fee”, are reported to have started just before the Christmas period meaning a stressful Festive season for those wrongly accused.  

Mr. Tudge must answer 4 key questions about the debt recovery program to reassure the community about the programs effectiveness; 

  1. How were the recipients of this correspondence selected?
  2. Exactly how many of these recovery notices have been sent in error?
  3. What are the process in place to prevent this correspondence being sent to the innocent? and;
  4. Why did he choose the Christmas period, already fraught with financial stress for so many, to roll out this latest batch of recovery notices?

Until these questions are answered the short recovery timeframes and threats of penalty action must be paused. 

WE'LL PUT PEOPLE FIRST