The union representing staff at who work in Centrelink, the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), has today welcomed the Albanese Government’s response to the Robodebt Royal Commission.
The Government’s acceptance of all 56 recommendations from Commissioner Holmes’ report will make significant progress towards ensuring that Robodebt, or any iteration of it, is never allowed to happen again.
The Government has accepted 49 of the report’s recommendations in full, and 7 of the recommendations in principle.
The recommendations that have been accepted in principle are:
- Recommendation 12.2: Customer Experience Reference Group.
- Recommendation 13.3: ‘Face-to-face’ support.
- Recommendation 13.4: Increased number of social workers.
- Recommendation 15.2: Include legal advice with New Policy Proposals.
- Recommendation 18.2: Reinstate the limitation of six years on debt recovery.
- Recommendation 21.3: Oversight of the legal services division.
- Recommendation 23.1: Structure of government departments.
The CPSU acknowledges all those who have contributed to achieving change and accountability, including the victims of Robodebt and their families, community organisations and frontline Centrelink staff.
The work of repairing and rebuilding a broken Services Australia continues.
Quotes attributable to Melissa Donnelly, CPSU National Secretary:
“Today is a significant day for all those whose lives were impacted by the illegal Robodebt scheme.
“CPSU members in Centrelink tried to stop this scheme in its tracks. These frontline workers stood up and spoke out time and time again, but were ignored, silenced and even threatened.
“The Robodebt Royal Commission report showed us that strong, frank and fearless leadership across the public service would not have allowed the Robodebt scheme to happen. And the Government’s response is progress toward the accountability, reform and closure that the victims of this scheme need and deserve.
“CPSU members will be relieved to hear that all recommendations made in the Robodebt Royal Commission report have been accepted.
“This was a deliberate scheme that had far-reaching and devastating consequences for members of the public who were affected, and for Centrelink employees who were forced to implement something that they knew was unethical and illegal.
“It is vital that behind each of these accepted recommendations are the resources needed to implement them. As it stands, this is not the case.
“Whilst the majority of recommendations were accepted, it is noted 7 recommendations were accepted in principle. The CPSU will be working to ensure the intent of those recommendations are properly implemented, particularly regarding the need for more ‘face to face’ support for customers and increased social workers.
“Our members in Services Australia are hopeful that this government is turning the ship around and I urge the Albanese Government not to let them down.
Media contact: Tori McGregor 0429 000 620