This program is wrong and must stop
In July 2016 Centrelink commenced piloting the automated debt recovery program. This program matches Centrelink and Australian Taxation Office data and detects discrepancies in the information held by both agencies.
The measure was expected to recover $1.3 billion over three years. The government has used data matching since the 1990s but Centrelink staff were involved in the decision making. Approximately 20,000 discrepancy notices were sent each year.
The new system has no human involvement. From November 2016 the government began sending out 20,000 notices each week to current and former Centrelink recipients. These letters are in effect debt notices seeking repayment (‘recovery’) of the discrepancy.