Submission to: Senate Community Affairs References Committee We do not support the continuation of the Centrelink automated debt collection process (robodebt). We remain concerned that debts claimed are inaccurate and people who may be experiencing vulnerability are paying debts they do not owe. Centrelink must be sure that a debt is owed before it commences any debt collection process and has the onus of proof. The debt collection process must be designed to be fair and take extra care in all circumstances as it is likely that the person receiving Centrelink is in financial difficulty, disadvantaged or vulnerable.
Submission to: Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights We echo the concerns of our colleagues across the community sector about the punitive aspects of ParentsNext. The program can exacerbate the financial issues facing single parents. Between July 2018 and February 2021, over 52,000 parents had their payments suspended, for an average of 5 days. Just over 1,000 parents had their payments cancelled. Many of these people would have faced a financial crisis as a result. This increases demand for emergency relief services, including food. Some people will have gone into debt to cover the financial shortfall, including high cost payday loans. The problem is that ParentsNext is a one size fits all program. Instead what is needed is targeted, strength-based support.