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$130M SPENT OUTSOURCING RECRUITMENT OF ROBODEBT ENFORCERS UNDER ILLEGAL SCHEME

February 14, 2020

BILL SHORTEN
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE NDIS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR GOVERNMENT SERVICES
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

SENATOR KATY GALLAGHER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE
SENATOR FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

The Morrison Government used $130m of taxpayers’ funds to get private companies to pursue victims of its illegal Robodebt scheme to pay money they did not owe.

We know from whistle blowers and from leaked photos of the call centres just how harsh and unfair these revenue-raising Robodebt call centres are to vulnerable people on social security.

And now we know, from responses to Labor questions in the Senate, that the public have been served with the nine-figure bill for this outsourcing.

This is a sad continuation of the Morrison Government’s tendency for imposing staffing caps that hollow out the public service and then award lucrative contracts to private consultancies to do the same work – all paid for by the taxpayer.

Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert has consistently defended Robodebt stating that it only needed a “refinement” despite receiving advise the scheme was completely illegal.

He even used public money to hire an army of debt collectors and banks of call centre phone workers to hassle struggling Australians with inaccurate and illegal debt claims.

The response to a question asked by Senator Gallagher shows that since the start of 2018 $130m has been spent on recruitment firms to hire more than a thousand people to chase down Robodebts.

And that this might just be the tip of the iceberg.

Stuart Robert needs to front up today to explain what this $130m was spent on and what other cheques he has signed off on to administer this illegal scheme.

The Morrison Government is failing to put the nation first by refusing to come clean on the illegality of the Robodebt scheme.

Scott Morrison needs to show some leadership, haul in his minister and get control of this illegal scheme that has tarnished his time as Prime Minister.

FRIDAY, 14 FEBRUARY, 2020.

Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.