The Albanese Labor Government today revealed that welfare payment accuracy has dropped due to the Coalition’s mismanagement of the welfare system, with JobSeeker accuracy dropping from 93 to 83 per cent in two years.
Minister for Social Services, the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, said that this is just another mess the Coalition has left for the Government to clean up.
“The Coalition failed to invest in the welfare system, meaning that 17 per cent of JobSeeker Payments being made have been incorrect,” Minister Rishworth said.
“Debts owed by welfare recipients have drastically increased, with some sitting in the system for over three years, so some people aren’t even aware that they’ve received too much money from Services Australia.
“While the former Government paused debt recovery and compliance activity due to COVID lockdowns and natural disasters, they should have been taking steps to make sure people were getting the right amount of money in the first place.”
Minister for Government Services, the Hon Bill Shorten MP, said that the leading cause of the inaccuracies was the Coalition’s decision to cut staff at Services Australia.
“The former Government—the architects of the Robodebt Scheme—cut staff in our key service delivery agencies, which has led to mistakes like this being made,” Minister Shorten said.
“It has also meant that the agency has been unable to undertake compliance activities, meaning welfare debts have remained unchecked for years.
“We have a responsibility to take steps to recover debts owing and therefore efforts to recover existing debts will need to recommence. Importantly, it is possible for people with debts owing to enter into payment arrangements with Services Australia.”