Justice for hundreds of thousands of people affected by robo-debt

Justice for hundreds of thousands of people affected by robo-debt

Friday, 29 May 2020

We welcome today’s announcement of refunds for Australians affected by the unfair and unlawful robo-debt scheme.

‘The Australian Government’s announcement that it will refund 470,000 robo-debts raised through income-averaging in July is welcome news for our clients, who have been waiting years for money wrongfully taken, to be returned to them’, said Rowan McRae, Executive Director of Civil Justice Access and Equity.

In November last year our client Deanna Amato successfully challenged the robo-debt system, proving it contained a fatal legal flaw. Deanna’s case showed that if a debt isn’t calculated properly, Centrelink cannot go on and pursue a person to pay the money.

‘Deanna’s case clarified the unlawfulness of the robo-debt system for hundreds of thousands of Australians in the same situation, who received or paid off a robo-debt based only on averaging,’ said Rowan.

‘We hope that the process will proceed smoothly for people who are owed money. Problems with accuracy and communication beset the robo-debt scheme and it is time for a stronger, fairer social security system that puts people first’ said Rowan.

We have updated our legal information in light of the refund announcement including our concerns with the use of bank statements. See our page on Robo-debts.

Rowan McRae is available for interview.

Media enquiries

For media enquiries, please contact Senior Communications Advisor Alma Mistry on 0418 381 327 or Alma.Mistry@vla.vic.gov.au.

More information

An in-depth look at our robo-debt test case

Deanna Amato's case- an Explainer

Victoria Legal Aid in the news after the refund announcement

'Robodebt expained: does the Government owe you money?' – fromThe Briefing podcast 

'Robodebt class action to continue a vindicated recipients push for damages' – from ABC News

'The robo-debt class action'  – from The Saturday Paper

'They nearly cost me my life': How robo-debt turned lives around – from The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

'It's taken far too long to rectify robo-debt distress' – from The Age editorial

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