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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 273


Mr PERRETT (MoretonOpposition Whip) (13:45): I rise, like many other MPs, to inform the House about the frustration being felt in my electorate by people who have been sent Centrelink debt recovery notices. Francis from Moorooka emailed my electorate office recently after he received such a Centrelink debt recovery notice. Francis was very concerned that his debt had been incorrectly calculated. He submitted an application for review by a Centrelink authorised review officer but was particularly worried about the Centrelink appeals process. Francis was under significant financial stress due to the debt notice. Centrelink have since contacted him to say, 'The software says you owe us this money,' with no other detail or explanation.

The flawed data-matching program being used by Centrelink is resulting in wrong outcomes, we hear, around 20 per cent of the time. That means around 4,000 honest Australians every week are being accused of fraud, and this is causing hardship and distress and all sorts of anxiety. This is no way to treat tax-paying, respectable Australians. The Turnbull government's flawed debt recovery program should be suspended immediately so that the frustration being felt by people like Francis of Moorooka is not experienced by others. Whilst I do live in Moorooka, I should stress I do not know Francis. He is just one of the many people who have contacted my office to complain about these debt recovery notices and the heartache that they are causing.