Centrelink system is working: Tudge

centrelinkThe federal government is standing by its controversial Centrelink debt recovery system despite widespread criticism.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge insists the automated process is not flawed, saying more than $300 million worth of overpayments has been recouped.

‘The system is working and we will continue with that system,’ he told ABC radio on Wednesday.

The system has produced about 170,000 debt notices since July based on data from the tax office and that given to Centrelink.

But there have been numerous reports from welfare recipients that they’ve been mistakenly targeted, causing distress.

It’s led to calls from Labor and the Greens to scrap the scheme, which is being investigated by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Mr Tudge, however, said he wasn’t aware of anyone who was completely convinced they don’t owe money but have been given a debt notice.

‘There are three opportunities for individuals to update their records if a discrepancy is identified,’ he said.

He denied reports a man had to call Centrelink 350 time to try resolve his matter, but acknowledged wait times can be long on occasions.

‘Yes, sometimes people do have to wait longer than what they would like to wait. We simply ask them to be patient, that they will get through or they can go into a Centrelink office.’

Mr Tudge reiterated that if someone has deliberately defrauded the welfare system, they would be tracked down and could face jail time.

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