Pipe 25YKF Australian Welfare Debt Automation Cockup So Bad Centrelink Boss Gives Out Personal Email Address

Australian Welfare Debt Automation Cockup So Bad Centrelink Boss Gives Out Personal Email Address

by
Anonymous Coward
in legal on (#25YKF)
As of six months ago the Department of Human Services started spewing out 20,000 letters per week to people claiming that they owe Centrelink a debt. This is the same number of letters Centrelink, a part of DHS, used to send out per year. This is due to a new system implemented by the DHS for which pulls back five years of data from the Australian Tax Office then compares the amount of benefits paid to each person resulting in a calculation for if the person was potentially overpaid welfare. Due to the period of time many people have moved on and were not contactable by the DHS, so Centrelink sent the letters of demand to debt collectors when people could not be contacted to resolve the question of whether a debt was owed. Now, with Christmas approaching, thousands of people are being hunted down by debt collectors for debts they know nothing about and for in several cases debts that are not real. Understandably, many people are not happy about this. In response to the overwhelming negative response by the public to this situation Centrelink boss Hank Jongen has asked people to email him directly to discuss their issues. This is just the latest in a series of publicly humiliating incidents the DHS has faced in 2016 with special focus on its baneful MyGov and My Health Record systems and the outsourcing of the Bowel Cancer Screening Register. On the bright side, there are only 10 days left in 2016. What else can possibly go wrong this year.
score +1
Reply 10 comments

Situation is getting worse (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2016-12-21 05:02 (#261FM)

and worse (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2016-12-28 05:15 (#26SPA)

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/dec/28/call-to-suspend-centrelink-system-after-single-mother-receives-24000-debt-notice

A low-income single mother says Centrelink wrongly issued her a $24,000 welfare debt just before Christmas, the latest in a series of complaints about the agency’s new automated compliance system.

On Tuesday Labor’s human services spokeswoman, Linda Burney, wrote to the government asking for a suspension of Centrelink’s new automated compliance system, saying it must stop accusing people of serious wrongdoing and charging recovery fees until it could be certain the system was targeting the right people.

Last week, a Centrelink compliance officer blew the whistle on widespread faults with the new compliance system, saying it was error-prone and grossly unfair to welfare recipients.

Re: and worse (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2017-01-03 11:27 (#27FG4)

Re: and worse (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2017-01-06 13:28 (#27X0A)

Re: and worse (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2017-01-06 13:29 (#27X0B)

The man handpicked by Malcolm Turnbull to head the government’s digital transformation has said the error rate in Centrelink’s data-matching process is so unfathomably high that it would send a commercial enterprise out of business.

Paul Shetler, the former digital transformation office head, criticised the government’s response to its latest IT crisis, telling Guardian Australia it was symptomatic of a culture of blame aversion within the bureaucracy.

“It is literally blame aversion, it is not risk aversion,” Shetler said. “They’re trying to avoid the blame, and they’re trying to cast it wide.

“The justifications that have been given I think are just another example of the culture of ‘good news’, reporting only good news up through the bureaucracy.

Centrelink defends debt recovery scheme after Andrew Wilkie criticism (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2017-01-04 09:07 (#27KDV)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-04/centrelink-defends-debt-recovery-scheme/8161822

MP says system designed by 'dunderhead'

Earlier today independent MP Andrew Wilkie said the debt recovery system had been designed by a "dunderhead" and was driving some Australians to the brink of suicide.

The Tasmanian MP said the system was flawed and has called for it to be suspended, telling reporters in Hobart that many of the letters sent to welfare recipients were "just plain wrong".

Light at the end of the tunnel (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2017-02-14 13:18 (#2CMQ6)

More bad news (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2017-02-14 13:19 (#2CMQJ)