Centrelink debt recovery not the success that Christian Porter claims

By The Canberra Times
Updated April 24 2018 - 10:50pm, first published January 6 2017 - 5:14pm

It's been a notable Christmas and New Year for Christian Porter, and not in an auspicious sense. Centrelink's automated welfare-debt retrieval system has mistakenly sent bills of up to $24,000 to welfare recipients, warning them that debt collectors would be called unless payment was received. As a result, the Social Services Minister has been accused by the Labor Party and Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie of preying on Australia's most vulnerable individuals. The Commonwealth Ombudsman has launched an investigation, and the former head of the Digital Transformation Office, Paul Shetler, has said that, were Centrelink a commercial enterprise, its high data-matching error rate would have sent it out of business.

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