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Centrelink expands robo-debt

Centrelink is pushing on with plans to expand its controversial automated debt recovery program from July, despite renewed calls for the welfare agency to halt its scheme while apparent flaws are fixed, SBS reports.

A Senate inquiry into the so-called robo-debt scandal has wrapped up after hearings across the country over the past three months.

Labor Senator Murray Watt says while adjustments have been made to the automated system, “deep flaws and very grave doubts about the validity of the system” remain.

He said the government should pause the expansion of its debt collection program, the Canberra Times adds.

 “No one has been able to convince this inquiry that this system has been running so smoothly that we aren’t going to see a whole bunch of new problems emerge on July 1 with this expansion, with a particularly vulnerable group of Australians being older people,” he said.

The welfare agency has so far used the automated system to examine people’s wages declared to the tax office but from July 1, also intends examining income from assets and investments.

The looming expansion is expected to generate $980 million over three years.

Senator Watt fears aged pensioners will be caught up in the widened scheme.

FULL STORY

Centrelink pursues robo-debt expansion (SBS)

DHS to press on with $980m ‘robo-debt’ expansion targeting pensioners (Canberra Times)

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