The federal opposition is calling on the Coalition to take a leaf out of the Dutch government’s book and react with “integrity” over the way it handled robo-debt. In the Netherlands, tax officials wrongly accused thousands people of fraud and ordered them to repay childcare benefits between 2013 and 2019. As a result, the Dutch government resigned. The cabinet’s resignation came after the publication of a parliamentary report last month, which concluded that “fundamental principles of the rule of law had been violated”.20,000 Dutch families were targeted with debt notices. The Australian Labor Party has reminded the nation 470,000 Australians were “illegally targeted” by robo-debt. The department in 2016 kicked off the data-matching program of work, colloquially known as robo-debt, that saw the automatic issuing of debt notices to those in receipt of welfare payments through the Centrelink scheme. The Centrelink Online Compliance Intervention (OCI) program automatically compared the income declared to the ATO against income declared to Centrelink, which resulted in debt notices, along with a 10% recovery fee, being issued whenever a disparity in government data was detected.One large error in the system was that it incorrectly calculated a recipient’s income, basing fortnightly pay on their annual salary rather than… Read full this story
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