Centrelink Incorrect Debt Notices Cause Stress And Anxiety – A First Hand Account

My daughter this week received an automatically generated notice from Centerlink saying that she owes a debt of $9k, because her tax records don’t match centerlink declared income in 2010 to 2012. During this time she was a student, at times working weekends and holidays  and she also did some full time work when she received no benefits,  An automatically generated debts merely with tax records could not possibly take into account all of her circumstances.  The debt is absolutely spurious.  She was at all times honest with Centerlink.  If there were times that her income didn’t match that reported then it would be in error, seldom and not amount to more than a few hundred dollars.  A am furious that the government should do this to her, and by the sounds of it another 20,000 other past welfare recipients per week.  In the past four months they have identified $650m in ‘debt’ in this flawed, automated, way and they intend to claw back 4 billion (see link to news article).  This actually sounds like a very large scam to me. Is the government actually allowed to terrify so many people based on such a flawed system? Or have scammers hacked into Centerlink and are sending out demand notices with no contact details and no details of how that amount was arrived at?
My daughter has undergone a tough time whilst she was on benefits.  Despite having a mental breakdown and other mental health issues, including panic attacks, and despite battling to live off insufficient $s, away from home, while studying and sick she is now a productive member of the full time work force, paying her taxes and her education debt.  This unexpected and unfounded debt notice has resulted in her experiencing severe stress which, if not relieved, could jeopardise her performance in her job. She will also need to take time out from her job to collect past payslips, bank statements etc to prove her innocence.   I will be acting for my daughter to fight this and I seek your advice.   I am also concerned for the other thousands of welfare recipients who are being subjected to this abuse.