Many of the debt recovery letters issued by Centrelink were the result of an intrinsically error prone system.
AAP Image/Julian Smith
The Centrelink debt recovery system reminds us that many data systems are prone to error, and that's built in to how they work.
The government claims budget savings will more than offset its additional spending on child care.
By far the most significant projected savings in the government's omnibus bill is the phasing out of end-of-year supplements for family tax benefit recipients.
Federal and state agencies are using powerful automated data-matching programs to identify properties that are generating income and might be liable for tax.
State revenue offices are using data matching to identify people who earn income from Airbnb, then sending notices that they may be liable for land tax, even though this remains a legal grey area.
A blockchain could be used to record all of our interactions with the government.
The problems with Centrelink's data-matching system stem from reconciling datasets held by different agencies. What if we used a blockchain to create a single source of data?
Government ministers have defended Centrelink’s debt recovery processes as ‘working’ following an ongoing controversy.
Centrelink's debt recovery problems reflect an over-simplistic application of policy to the complexity of workers’ lives in a flexible labour market.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman will investigate Centrelink’s automated debt-recovery system.
Centrelink's debt recovery system is using information in a way that it was not designed to be applied, without properly adjusting for differences between the tax and social security system.
How much welfare debt accumulates and is recovered each year?
AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy
Is the Coalition right to say that, at any one time, there is around $3.5 billion of debt to the Commonwealth due to fraud, non-compliance or misreporting in the welfare system?
Those who struggle the most with bills can also find it hardest to change their energy choices.
AAP Image/Dan Peled
It's not just about finding money for things like solar panels – poorer households can also find it harder to gain access to reliable information about the green energy options they do have.
Millions of calls to Centrelink went unanswered as Australians waited a collective total of 811 years in 2013-14.
Shutterstock/Sarah Jane Taylor
Centrelink's failure to answer calls is a sign of a deeper problem: a lack of respect from government services for vulnerable citizens.
Jenny Macklin has found herself in hot water over comments about the dole.
There seems little doubt that Families Minister Jenny Macklin’s office attempted to “fix up” her extraordinary faux pas last Tuesday – her claim that yes, she could live on the daily income of $35 received…
There’s no evidence to suggest that the government’s income management program is working. So why is it being expanded?
If Finance Minister Penny Wong is serious about delivering budget savings to Australians, perhaps she should rethink the government’s commitment to its contentious income management program. By cutting…
Income management is being introduced in part for child protection, but is could make things harder for families.
The start of the new financial year has also heralded the start of one of the major reforms of our income support system, yet few know it is happening. The Income Management program quarantines at least…