After weeks of sustained and worsening criticism against of Centrelink robodebt letters with the gov firmly denying there is absolutely anything at all wrong with it, missing in action Smug Tudge has finally conceded there is actually problems that need fixing. *faints*
Although they're just fiddling at the edges, never the less it is indeed an admission that all is actually not well with robodept.
The human services minister, Alan Tudge, who last week said the system was working as it should, has directed the department to begin including Centrelink’s dedicated 1800 phone number for the compliance team in letters to welfare recipients.Yes folks, that's all we've managed to get out of them after about a month of exasperation. Far out. It's like pulling teeth! The pressure is hardly likely to be let up by all those opposed to it, more likely they'll take the morsel and get the taste for blood 😀
The language in the letters will also be simplified and made clearer, he said.
In cases where Centrelink has sent letters to the wrong address, the government will allow them to have an internal review before they are asked to begin paying back money.
The government will also use other records, such as the electoral roll, to ensure Centrelink’s letters are going to the right address, and will begin using registered mail to ensure the correspondence is received.
In a small number of cases, Centrelink will also call customers to ensure they have received the letters.
“One of the issues has been that on some occasions the address which Centrelink has on file hasn’t been an up-to-date one, and so the first that a person might hear about their debt notice is when there’s a debt collector on their doorstep,” Tudge said on 2GB radio in Sydney on Monday.
“Now we’re fixing that problem by ensuring that we’re going to be using multiple different addresses including a person’s electoral roll address and other addresses to ensure they do get that letter and do get the opportunity to update their record if they do believe, honestly, that they have a valid explanation for why there’s a discrepancy.” The Guardian
Hopefully this is the leak that will burst the dam eventually. This has been a major affront on Australian law abiding citizens. A law breaking rogue attack on our weakest by a bully gov. All Australians should be outraged at this. If they can do it to us, then who's going to be next? It must be stopped.
IMO people should be in court over it. No company can behave like this. It's extortion.
One of the things that they haven't been telling people is that under financial hardship, even if there is a real debt, Centrelink isn't allowed to take any money off you for at least a year. This despite the possibly real debt. I'd advise anyone on welfare under financial hardship to indeed press that point if they get a debt letter. With Centrelink you have to be proactive, they won't tell you if they don't have to. Or in this case if they've been told not to.
Centrelink deems financial hardship is if you have less than $15 left after paying required living expenses. Well that's pretty much all of us on welfare isn't it who live in private rent?
After going into bankruptcy I know that creditors have to leave you enough to live on. For example, the gov dept that looks after us bankrupts goes through my finances at the end of every financial year until I'm cleared of bankruptcy. If they see that I'm able to pay something to the creditor (the bank) then I have to pay the amount they deem. This last financial year I wasn't required to pay anything of course. That includes the money I got out of Super under financial hardship provisions.