Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Automated bulk verification system for community housing tenants

From next year, around 40,000 Centrelink customers living in community housing will no longer need to use a time-consuming paper-based process every six months to continue receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

A new automated bulk verification system will replace people filling out a rent certificate, having it signed by their landlord and returning it to Centrelink.

Many people currently do not return it within the required 14 days and have their CRA suspended, and a small number ultimately have it cancelled altogether.

These are people most in need of assistance, such as those with literacy problems, disability or mental health issues and Indigenous clients.

For some, this can lead to homelessness.

Bulk verification of rent will allow Community Housing organisations to provide updates on the amount of rent being paid using a secure online portal directly to Centrelink.

Customer records will be updated on Centrelink systems in real time.

This means that CRA payments won’t be interrupted for people who simply have difficulty with verification procedures.

Centrelink workloads will be reduced because of reduced paperwork and because less people will have CRA suspended and cancelled.

More accurate information will also reduce the number of incorrect CRA payments and the resulting recovery and repayment action that needs to be taken.

CRA is used by more than one million individuals and families across Australia each fortnight.