Robodebt was inhumane & inaccurate – refunds are overdue and must be expedited

1 June 2020

The Australian Council of Social Service thanks everyone who has spoken out about being charged a robodebt, as the Government today finally agreed to repay all illegal robodebts.

Today Services Australia has announced that the 470,000 robodebts (debts issued using automated averaging, which has now been found to be unlawful) will be refunded to people who repaid the debts, including recovery fees and interest.

Australian Council of Social Service Acting CEO Jacqueline Phillips said:

“The Government’s decision today follows years of hardship and distress for so many inflicted by this inaccurate, inhumane debt recovery system.

“Robodebt hit people even when they were going through the hardest of times – after the death of a family member, in the wake of a natural disaster, and when they were living on next to nothing, getting rejection after rejection with not enough jobs available.

“Robodebt was proven to be unlawful and it should never have been unleashed on the community. It is disappointing that it has taken almost four years for the Government to admit it got this so wrong. The repayments must be expedited and this will require increased resourcing of Centrelink, which is also dealing with the dramatic increase in demand for financial assistance arising from the current crisis.

“We thank everyone who has spoken out about being hit with one of these debts, and are proud to have been one of the many organisations who stood with them, including Not My Debt, theAustralian Unemployed Workers Union, Victoria Legal Aid and Economic Justice Australia.”

Media contact:  Australian Council of Social Service, 0419 626 155