Centrelink accused of using scare tactics

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Federal Police feature on letters sent to target Centrelink welfare cheats

Here we go again….

Softer stance didn’t last long!

  • For a while there it looked like Centrelink were starting to see sense.
  • They had announced they would back down a little from the mess of their faulty data-matching system that was creating incorrect debt notices.
  • But Centrelink are back on the war path, and this time they have the Australian Federal Police on their side.

Warning letters use strong scare tactics

  • In a bid to crack down on welfare payment recipients who they say might be trying to rort the system, Centrelink has sent warning letters to some clients.
  • The letters bear the Australian Federal Police logo and warn clients of the penalties that will apply if they commit welfare fraud.
  • These threatened penalties include a criminal record and possible prison sentence.

Centrelink insist the process is business as usual

  • Centrelink say they’re just reminding people of the importance of keeping their personal details accurate and up to date.
  • They insist they understand that the majority of people do the right thing, and that some people make honest mistakes.
  • They say they’re after those who are deliberately trying to rort the welfare system.
  • But critics say the letter’s language and use of the AFP logo is a deliberate attempt to scare people.

Opposition hits back

  • The Opposition spokesperson for Human Services, Labor MP Linda Burney has slammed the Centrelink letters.
  • She’s accused government of having no regard for Aussie welfare recipients.
  • She says the inclusion of the Australian Federal Police logo and strong wording of the letter is victimising and harassing to Aussies who are receiving welfare payments.

Welfare rorts crack down

  • The Department of Human Services, who are responsible for Centrelink services, are running Taskforce Integrity.
  • This task force has identified almost $30 million in welfare debts owed to the government, and they’re trying to claw back as much of it as possible.
  • But that’s little consolation for the many honest Centrelink clients who received the official letters.

 

What do you think? Did you receive one of the notices?

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