Wednesday 25th January 2017 - 4:53 pm

Scrap debt reduction plan:Greens

by Alan Thornhill

The Greens say that the Federal government should be trying to do much more with its broken automated debt recovery system than give it a facelift.

Their spokeswoman Senator Rachel Siewert, made the comment in a statement she issued yesterday

The government is planning further cuts to pensioners’ entitlements to help pay for major tax cuts.

It sought support for its plan in an election held on July 2.

However Senator Siewert dismissed it as an attempt to quell political backlash.

It should be viewed as such.

The Government is giving a ‘facelift’ to the broken, automated  system, she added

“The 1800 phone number should have always been on the letters to recipients,

“For them not to include it in the first place demonstrates how the Government intended to make the process difficult for people accessing the social safety net,” she added.

“There should have always been an internal review into payments before debt recovery begins, for debt recovery to start straight away also shows how ham-fisted the approach was by the Government.

“For the system to be slightly less blunt and harsh doesn’t change the fact that a lack of human oversight means thousands of Australians are going to receive an incorrect debt notice, then have to prove their innocence by digging up records they may not have from years ago.

“I call on the Government to scrap the automated debt recovery system before more damage is done,” she added.


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Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
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