Today, the Federal Court approved a settlement worth at least $1.8 billion for people wrongly pursued by the federal government's Robodebt scheme. Robodebt was an automated debt collection system in place between July 2015 and November 2019 that used data-matching to identify the overpayment of social security benefits.

As part of the Robodebt scheme, the court heard that the federal government had unlawfully raised $1.73 billion in debts against 433,000 people. Of this, $751 million was wrongly recovered from 381,000 people. Many Australians paid the debts, often at great personal expense, before it was discovered in court that the scheme was unlawful and, in many cases, incorrect.

One thing that stands out is the financial hardship, anxiety and distress, including suicidal ideation, that people suffered due to Robodebt. The government and public servants should have known the method of using taxation income records to estimate a welfare recipient's average income was flawed. 

The presiding judge said the government should have ensured it had a proper legal basis to raise and recover any social security debts. It caused financial hardship, distress and anxiety to many vulnerable people and resulted in a huge waste of public money. 

Unfortunately, no government minister or senior public servant has been held accountable for the appalling scheme.
Bad bad. There are plenty of things governments can and should do well, but when they go off the rails, the consequences are usually dire.
2021-06-11 15:10:53
Wow i wonder what type of software team made this? When it comes to such large scale and financially touching systems you gotta make sure the software is really good and painfullly tested
2021-06-12 15:27:26