Catholic Social Services Australia executive director Monique Earsman has applauded the Albanese Government’s decision to wipe the Robodebt reviews of nearly 200,000 Australians. Source: CSSA
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth last week confirmed her department wouldn’t continue investigations into the controversial Coalition scheme introduced in 2015.
Ms Earsman said the decision to scrap the debts has “hopefully now put an end to one of the most disgraceful and mean-spirited government programs forced on millions of our country’s most vulnerable people”.
“The decision means almost 200,000 people who have spent years fighting to clear welfare debts they didn’t owe will have any active Centrelink investigations wiped,” Ms Earsman said.
Following the decision, the Government will scrap the cases of robodebt victims still under review, with any potential debt no longer being pursued.
The automated debt-collection system, which was found to be unlawful, was intended to recover allegedly overpaid payments to recipients. Approximately 381,00 people, partly or wholly, paid these debts totalling around $751 million.
A royal commission into the Coalition’s robodebt scheme, which was ruled unlawful in 2019, will begin public hearings at the end of October. The previous government settled a class action in 2020 for $112 million.