Immediate investigation required into latest Centrelink debt scandal

Reports today that Centrelink staff are being ordered not to correct known errors in debt recovery letters require immediate independent investigation, says federal Labor MP Brian Mitchell.

The Lyons Labor MP said the explosive claims, made by a Centrelink whistleblower and verified by the Guardian newspaper with another Centrelink source, must not be left with the Department of Human Services to massage away.

“These are incredible claims, that Centrelink staff are being ordered not to fix incorrect debt demands unless the customer points them out.

“This means the Government knows it is taking money from Australians that it has no right to.

“These claims require immediate investigation and, if proved true, consideration should be given to launching prosecutions.”

Mr Mitchell said that till now, the litany of problems with Centrelink’s debt recovery program centred on automation and the system’s inability to properly match data gathered from Centrelink and the ATO.

“These new allegations cross the line, suggesting deeply unethical, even fraudulent behaviour, by senior federal public servants.

“If these allegations are proved true, they signal just how far ethical standards have fallen under this Government.”