Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has come out in defence of Centrelink’s debt recovery system that has attracted serious public backlash over inaccuracies.
Mr Tudge rejected calls to scrap the debt recovery system and insisted that “The system is working and we will continue with that system”.
More than 170,000 notices of potential overpayment have been sent since July 2016 after the new automated system found reporting inaccuracies when cross-referencing data from the Australian Tax Office and Centrelink.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) January 11, 2017
The public backlash over the past month has been intense and many Australians have revealed notices of debt they believe to be inaccurate. Mr Tudge, who has only just returned from holidays, was unable to confirm or deny any such instances.
“I’m not aware of individuals who are completely convinced that they don’t owe money but have been given a debt notice,” he said.
Mr Tudge told reporters that people who have received a debt notice and were looking to discuss the situation could either go to a Centrelink office and see someone “within 10 minutes” or call the Centrelink hotline where the average wait time is “about 12 minutes”.
What was the wait time on your last visit to a Centrelink office or your phone call to the Centrelink hotline? Do you think Minister Tudge actually believes the system is working as intended? Should Minister Tudge sit down with those who have been sent inaccurate debt notices and explain why the notices were sent?