Media Releases

Centrelink debacle hurting Central Coast families

February 24, 2017

LINDA BURNEY MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR HUMAN SERVICES

EMMA MCBRIDE MP MEMBER FOR DOBELL

 

CENTRELINK DEBACLE HURTING CENTRAL COAST FAMILIES

 

Shadow Minister for Human Services, Linda Burney, will visit the Central Coast today and meet residents affected by Centrelink’s ‘robo-debt’ debacle.

Ms Burney and Dobell MP Emma McBride will hear from Paul, a local teacher who was targeted by the flawed debt collection system. Paul and his wife had just welcomed their first child, but instead of enjoying Christmas together they were put through turmoil trying to deal with Centrelink.

“We’ve heard endless stories about the human impact of the Turnbull Government’s bungled robo-debt program, and I know there are many people on the Central Coast who have had the same experience,” Ms Burney said.

“The Government’s approach to this is staggering. They say a quick phone call or meeting will sort it out, but they have no idea it can take hours, days or weeks to get through. The government is totally out of touch on this and their failure to properly resource Centrelink is hurting people here on the Coast.”

“The debt collection system is broken but I am hopeful that the upcoming Senate Inquiry will finally deliver some answers.”

Emma McBride said her office has been inundated with complaints about Centrelink debt letters.

“Every day I speak with people who can’t get through to Centrelink on the phone or are being forced to wait for long periods in the office,” Ms McBride said.

“When I met Paul and his family, I couldn’t believe what had happened. It is failure after failure.”

“Paul’s appeal sparked a series of events that led to the money being pursuing by Centrelink, even after they admitted the assessment was wrong. He spent many hours over several weeks trying to work it out; it was a frustrating experience.”

“I welcome the Shadow Minister’s visit today. Linda is here to listen to the people of the Central Coast because she cares and wants to fix this.”

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