Shayne Neumann MP
Federal Member for Blair

Australian Labor
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Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann MP has criticised the Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge for refusing to act in response to the Centrelink debt clawback crisis.

Despite the continuing failures of Centrelink’s automated debt recovery scheme, Mr Tudge used his first media appearance of the year on his return from leave to claim that he was unaware of any problems.

Mr Neumann said that the Minister comments were insulting to the Ipswich and Somerset residents who had been left desperate and frightened by the error prone system.

“Since this debacle began, my office has assisted dozens of locals concerned and afraid at the thought of having to pay debts they simply do not owe.”

“We’ve helped one constituent who was sent a letter demanding over twenty thousand dollars in debt when in fact she was owed money, another who was told to go back and find payslips and statements from years ago just so he could avoid being harassed by letters of demand.”

“These are just some of the many people desperate for the Turnbull government to step in and put an end to their mess. That the Minister has come back from holidays and pretended there isn’t a problem is arrogant and offensive beyond belief.”

Mr Neumann said that the ongoing crisis meant that the debt clawback had to be stopped until the problem had been fixed.

“Frontline Centrelink staff are trying their best to help people get through this, but until the Government can guarantee they’ve solved these problems the system needs to stop.”

“For the Minister to ignore an ongoing Ombudsman investigation, Turnbull Government advisors, an error rate of twenty percent and the calls for help from the up to 4000 people each week wrongly sent letters demanding payment shows how incompetent and out of touch this Government is.”

“The Minister needs to stop avoiding the issue, get back to work and sort out this mess.”