RALLY to End Centrelink Debt Debacle
“Abolition of the Centrelink Debt Recovery Scheme” is the central demand of a rally being organised by the Australian Unemployed Workers Union on Tuesday 31 January, 12.30pm at the State Library in Melbourne.
President of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union, Owen Bennett, said that “The Turnbull Government’s automated debt recovery system has sent around one-quarter of a million debt notices to social security recipients. Up to 90% of these notices are are estimated to be incorrect.
“Centrelink staff have been instructed that they are not allowed to fix obvious errors in the debt notices, unless the recipient of the debt notice makes a formal complaint.
“Some people who are now working full-time have just paid back the debts even though they are incorrect because of the difficulties of getting through to Centrelink to make a formal complaint. Others feel intimidated or bullied into accepting the debt notices, even though they are incorrect.
“Up to 90% of the debt notices which have been reviewed randomly have been found to be incorrect. The consequences of these notices is horrific and could result in an increase in attempted suicides and people losing their housing because they can’t afford the rent or mortgage,”
“Up to 90% of the debt notices which have been reviewed randomly have been found to be incorrect. The consequences of these notices is horrific and could result in an increase in attempted suicides and people losing their housing because they can’t afford the rent or mortgage. Some of our members are facing jail time for debts they may not even owe.
“This system is a shameless continuation of the Coalition’s mission to criminalise social security recipients and dismantle the social security system as a whole. The Dignity Not Debt movement is committed to fighting Turnbull’s punitive approach every step of the way” said Bennett.
The ‘Dignity Not Debt: End Centrelink Debt Debacle’ rally has received broad endorsement, including from organisations like the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Fair Go for Pensioners, Council of Single Mothers and their Children and the Homeless Persons Union. The endorsement list indicates that the Centrelink debt notices are hitting a broad range of groups in the community.
Details of the rally are:
Tuesday 31 January, 12.30
State Library, corner Swanston St and La Trobe St, Melbourne CBD
The rally will then march to the Liberal Party headquarters in Exhibition Street.
Speakers will include: Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale, Freedom from Poverty founder Duncan Storrar and NUS Education Officer Anneke Demanuele. Others include First Nations community leader Meriki Onus, Australian Unemployed Workers Union President Owen Bennett, Zach Brady from Centrelink Class Action and Sue Bolton from Socialist Alliance and Moreland councillor.
For Media comment:
Owen Bennett / firstname.lastname@example.org