As many as 1.5 million Australians are expected to be affected by Centrelink’s debt recovery algorithm. Since July, the automated system has produced almost 170,000 notices of overpayments.
This has given rise to heavy criticism of the debt recovery algorithm, and many people have complained about receiving incorrect and false debts. However, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has said he would not cancel Centrelink’s system.
The Juice Media has targeted Centrelink’s debt recovery algorithm debacle and come up with a hilarious video showing what Gizmodo calls an “honest and upfront explanation” of the problem. However, it should be noted the video is not an honest government statement.
Watch The Juice Media's Centrelink parody
The nearly two-minute clip features a woman, a ‘Centrelink employee,’ who among other things attacks the long waiting queues many callers had to experience. "If our efforts to ruin your life are causing you distress, call us," she says. "And if you don't die of natural causes while waiting to speak to a real person, we'll gladly refer you to counselling.”
Meanwhile, the federal government has said it will not scrap the Centrelink recovery system. In emphasising that the system is accurate, Tudge said overpayments amounting to as much as $300 million have been recouped.
Since July, almost 170,000 debt notices have been issued, according to AAP. Many welfare recipients have said the notices they have received are incorrect and false. The debt recovery algorithm has received widespread backlash and criticism.
What complicates the problem is that several people who have been trying to get in touch with Centrelink have had to make hundreds of calls – and wait for hours – before they could get through. Dan Buzzard, from Perth, said he had called Centrelink 350 times. "I had to make 350 calls before I even got a dial tone, then it was an hour and a half on hold before I even spoke to a person," he said, according to Huffington Post Australia.
Tudge did acknowledge long wait times, but said “ sometimes people do have to wait longer than what they would like to wait.” He added, “We simply ask them to be patient, that they will get through or they can go into a Centrelink office." He said those who have defrauded the system will be targeted – leading to possible imprisonment and jail time.