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Centrelink’s Compliance Program

The submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs in respect of its inquiry into Centrelink’s compliance program was prepared by the Law Council. 

In July 2016, the Department of Human Services made a significant change to the way its agency Centrelink operates. It launched what was described by the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman as an ‘online compliance intervention (OCI) system for raising and recovering debts’ (emphasis added).

Centrelink’s compliance processes have, since 2016, used various iterative online systems, including Employment Income Confirmation from February 2017 to August 2018 and Check and Update Past Income from August 2018 to the present. For the purpose of this submission, the term ‘Online Compliance System’ is used to refer cumulatively to the system introduced in 2016 and all subsequent iterations.

The Law Council has previously expressed significant concerns regarding the Online Compliance System. During its evolution to date, a number of elements of the Online Compliance System have been refined and improved, including in response to recommendations made by the Ombudsman and others. The Law Council welcomes those improvements.

Certain features of the system, including some which are central to its architecture, have, however, remained largely constant and must be addressed.

You can read the full submission below.

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