A man walks into a Centrelink, part of the Australian government's department of human services where job seekers search for employment, in a Sydney suburb, August 7, 2014. Reuters/Jason Reed

Centrelink debt recovery program will be undergoing changes. The program, which compares records from Centrelink and Australian Taxation Office, has issued incorrect debt notifications to thousands of Australians since July of last year.

The Centrelink debt recovery program has been in the centre of immense criticism over the last few weeks. In light of this, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said welfare recipients will now be able to internally review their payments before their debt proceedings are launched.

Justin Burns, a disability pensioner, told the ABC last week he contested his debt and asked that he be allowed a review. However, he said he had to pay $40 every two weeks even while the review was ongoing. "I have had to borrow money off my parents, I have had to borrow money off my friends," he said.

Queensland Australian of the Year finalist Janet Hammill also found herself embroiled in the Centrelink debt recovery fiasco. Hammill, who was the recipient of a $26,000 research grant between July 2011 and April 2012, received a notification stating she owed $7,600. She had fully reported the grant to Centrelink at the time.

Tudge said the clients who have been issued incorrect debt notifications will be informed of the discrepancies before debt collectors can get in touch with them. To ensure this, Tudge is working to bring into effect a few measures – including altering the wording on notice letters and adding Centrelink’s 1800 hotline.

However, Tudge maintained his stand last week that the program was not flawed. "The system is working and we will continue with that system," he said. "I'm not aware of individuals who are completely convinced that they don't owe money but have been given a debt notice."

Centrelink debt recovery system has adversely affected the popularity of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's government. A survey conducted by ReachTEL shows the Coalition trailing Labor 54 percent to 46 percent, two-party preferred. The survey, which was taken on Jan. 12, included input from more than 2,000 Australians. According to Fairfax Media, although both Liberal and Labor parties stood equal with 32 percent, the Opposition had more of the “undecided” vote – 33.3 percent to 19 percent.