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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Centrelink Continues With Compliance Programs

The Federal Government has not instructed Centrelink to stop compliance and review programs to recover overpayments from people receiving benefits, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, said today.

She rejected the claims of Opposition children and youth spokeswoman, Senator Jacinta Collins, that Centrelink had been instructed to stop all debt recovery programs until after the Federal election.

Senator Patterson said: “I categorically reject Senator Collins’ claim.

“The Government is running its normal compliance programs to ensure that our welfare system is fair and ensure benefits go to those most in need.

“Unlike Labor, the Howard Government is managing the social security system responsibly and is saving taxpayers more than $44 million a week from enhanced compliance measures.

“Our welfare system delivers assistance to those who are eligible based on their need. To maintain its fairness it is vital that we all ensure that people in similar circumstances are treated the same.”