Centrelink

I became aware that Centrelink were trying to pin a cooked-up “robo-debt” of $5558 on me through a text message from the aptly named Probe group debt collection agency.

There resources about how to dispute a Centrelink debt letter, including GetUp! which has a page that sends a bunch of letters to key places in one go. 

It would surprise the federal Coalition government — that assumes we dislike welfare recipients as much as it does — that one of its biggest problems at the start of the year is the Centrelink debt fiasco.

Over the past six months, 170,000 people received debt notices from Centrelink, with the number gradually rising to 20,000 a week.

By comparison, only 20,000 debt notices were issued for the whole of 2015.

The staff who have to adminster Centrelink’s “robo-debt” system are under huge pressure and are demanding an immediate halt to the punitive approach.

A Centrelink worker told Green Left Weekly that the system was implemented without staff being trained and that they were ill equipped to explain the debts.

As part of Anti-Poverty Week, on October 21 and 22, Anti-Poverty Network South Australia hosted Power To The Poor — Silent No More, a two-day conference devoted to the attacks faced by welfare recipients in Australia — sole parents, unemployed people, age and disability pensioners, carers, and others — and opportunities for pushing back.

WENDY, a job-seeker in her late 50s, spoke about her experiences as an older unemployed person. Below she was interviewed by PAS FORGIONE from Anti-Poverty Network SA.

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More than 100 people attended a heated community meeting in Ceduna, South Australia, on November 7, to hear Assistant Minister for Social Services Alan Tudge discuss the Healthy Welfare Card.
"Another bloody bogan. Shows she can't manage her money", the Coles cashier said as Sally left the store. It was Sally's first time using the Basics Card, and things were not off to a good start.
Kirstyn Jones is from Davoren Park near Playford in Adelaide's northern suburbs, where there has been an income management trial for two years. She is the first Playford resident forced on to income management to speak publicly. She was put on income management, despite being financially competent and working part time, solely because she was on Youth Allowance and not living at home.

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