Image for ‘Ombudsman agrees to new Centrelink investigation’

First published June 13

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will call on the Federal Government to shut down the disastrous Centrelink robo-debt program once and for all, after the Commonwealth Ombudsman agreed to his request to investigate it again in light of revelations from a whistleblower.

He will be joined by David Felix, a constituent who received a nonsensical debt notice and has been struggling to get Centrelink to explain it.

WHEN: 12:30pm TODAY 13 June
WHERE: Parliament House lawns HOBART

“I am very satisfied that the Commonwealth Ombudsman has agreed to my request to conduct another investigation into Centrelink’s robo-debt program, in response to the concerns of a whistleblower that I made public recently,” Mr Wilkie said. “The system is a serious failure of administration and proper process, and the Federal Government has so far been blind to criticism.”

“Just last month I raised a number of concerns with the Ombudsman, including the fact that people who provide payslips rather than bank statements may incur a higher debt because the system doesn’t factor in gross versus net income, and also the fact that people are getting double or triple debts because the name of their employer is recorded slightly differently.

“The fact is that the robo-debt system should have been shut down a long time ago. But instead the Government has continued to let it loose on everyday Australians, saddling them with nonsensical and often incorrect debts sometimes in the tens of thousands of dollars.

“The fact that the Ombudsman has now seen fit to investigate the matter again is proof that the robo-debt program is deeply flawed and must be shut down and replaced with one that is timely, accurate and fair.

“I thank the Ombudsman for seeing the significant public interest in this matter and I will continue to provide his office with evidence of problems with the system as I receive it.”

Authorised by Andrew Wilkie MP 188 Collins St Hobart

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