Nearly 400 income support recipients in the Illawarra and a further 200 in Gilmore were falsely or incorrectly issued with Centrelink debts under the Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge’s failed Robo-debt debacle.
In an answer to a question in writing filed by Steve Georganas MP, the Minister for Human Services revealed that as at 31 March, 20,000 Australians nation-wide who had been contacted as part of the failed Robo-debt debacle, had their debts corrected or quashed altogether.
Shadow Minister for Human Services Linda Burney will be visiting the Illawarra and the electorate of Gilmore today, with Labor candidate for Gilmore Fiona Phillips.
373 income support recipients across the Illawarra region had their debts corrected or completely quashed, as well as 204 income support recipients in Gilmore.
These are absolutely shocking results and reveal the extent to which Mr Tudge has fudged the management of the Robo-debt debacle.
Over a nine month period, the Government erroneously and unnecessarily set debt collectors on 20,000 innocent and vulnerable Australians, who were in need of income support at that point in their lives.
Minister Tudge made them feel frightened, anxious and like criminals, and he should apologise.
In June, a Senate Inquiry delivered a scathing assessment of the Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge’s bungled robo-debt disaster.
The Senate Inquiry Report found that this system had a profoundly negative impact on the lives of thousands of income support recipients.
The Report found that Alan Tudge ordered no risk assessment or proper planning before rolling out his robo-debt system. In sum, it was “so flawed it was set up to fail”.
The Senate Inquiry followed a scathing Ombudsman’s Investigation in April, which found that the system was neither reasonable nor fair, and was rolled out amid calls from welfare and community groups for the system to be halted.
The Senate Inquiry produced 21 recommendations which effectively called on the radical overhaul of the system for it to be remotely workable.
To this day, the Government has refused to act on these recommendations – an absolute insult to the thousands of decent and vulnerable individuals who are reliant on income support at a difficult and uncertain time in their lives.