Dignity Not Debt: End Centrelink Debt Debacle

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - 12:30 to 14:00


Dignity Not Debt: End Centrelink Debt Debacle

State Library of Victoria, Tuesday, 31st January, 12:30 pm

Duncan Storrar (Freedom From Poverty)
Senator Janet Rice (Greens)
Marilyn King (Willing Old Workers)
Sue Bolton (Socialist Alliance)
Owen Bennett (Australian Unemployed Workers' Union)
Meriki Onus (First Nations community)
Zach Brady (Centrelink Class Action)


1. Abolish Debt Recovery Scheme

Since the Coalition (supported by Labor) introduced the Debt Recovery System in July 2016, Centrelink have sent 20,000 debt notices per week to social security recipients. At least 20% of these notices are wrong. As a result of the Government's broken system, tens of thousands of vulnerable Australians are being harrassed by Centrelink and private debt collectors for debts they do not even owe. This is a disgrace.

2. Dignity for Social Security Recipients

The Coalition has gone out of its way to make dealing with Centrelink a humilating and difficult experience for millions of low income Australians. Despite the well documented problems with Centrelink's phone system, online portal, application process, and frontline offices to name only a few, the Coalition has continually refused to address these problems let alone acknowledge them. Austraila's social security recipients deserve better.

3. Restore Adequate Funding to Centrelink

Over the last 5 years, more than 5,000 Centrelink staff have been sacked. Consequently, Centrelink have been unable to keep up with the rising demand for its services. Last year alone 36 milion calls to Centrelink went unanswered. Due to Australia's rising population, it is estimated that each year the number of calls to Centrelink increase by 3 million.

4. Lift Payments Above the Poverty Line

Australia's expenditure on social security payments is one of the lowest in the OECD. As a result, every social security payment sit well below the Henderson poverty line. 

If you would like to help orgnaise this rally or add your organisation's endoresement, please contact us on contact@unemployedworkersunion.com or call the lead organisers Ewen Kloas (0415 548 252) or Sue Bolton (0413 377 978)