2 October 2018 – Correction of inaccurate ZDNet report

An article published by ZDNet on 2 October 2018 reports information about the Department of Human Services’ income welfare compliance activities that is incorrect.

It is inaccurate to say that the system automatically issued debt notices. Letters initiated at the commencement of a compliance review are not debt letters.  To refer to them as debt letters is factually incorrect.  The letter asks the customer to engage online or call the department to work through a discrepancy. 

Last year the Commonwealth Ombudsman confirmed that:

  •  it was reasonable and appropriate for the department to ask people to explain data matching discrepancies;
  • the online system accurately calculates debts when the required information is entered;
  • the business rules in the online compliance system that support the debt calculation are comprehensive and accurately capture the legislative and policy requirements; and
  • debts raised are consistent with the previous manual debt investigation process.