Robodebts should be cancelled

After revelations that the government reportedly owes 450,000 people more than half a billion dollars in false robodebts, ACOSS calls on the government to immediately cancel all robodebts and refund the money plus interest.

 

For the first time, we have an understanding of what government wrongfully collected under robodebt. It appears that government must repay about 70% of what it has collected, having received $785M as at August 2019.

 

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said, “These are damning revelations, and we urge the Federal Government to immediately repay what it owes to people across Australia.

 

“Many of these people are applying for income support or were already receiving income support. They are in desperate circumstances and should never have been charged with a false debt.

 

“Robodebt should never have seen the light of day. It must be immediately shut down and all false debts repaid.

 

Charmaine Crowe, ACOSS Senior Advisor Social Security said, “We are deeply disturbed to hear reports of government chasing people about robodebt at a time of mass job loss, and unprecedented demand for Centrelink.

 

“It is also troubling that an estimated 70% of what the government has collected in debts was unlawful. This is a monumental failure in public administration.

 

“Robodebt has caused so much distress and heartache in our community. The least the government can do now is ensure people are repaid as soon as possible."

 

31 March 2020.