Bill Shorten targets myGov audit

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Many of them will be involved in the policies on which the new government has campaigned and on which it seeks to quickly change the provisions.

The agency pays more than $230 billion a year to people for more than 470 million claims. During the pandemic, it also processed all requests for emergency payments, which led it to temporarily add 2,000 additional employees.

However, it has come under pressure in recent years to increasingly force people online to make these claims, with nearly 30 Centrelink or Services Australia storefronts closing across the country, leaving 318 dedicated outlets. Shorten has previously said that people seeking support and services need to be able to speak with real people, not just be pushed to a website or sit in a phone queue. automated.

Another top priority for Shorten in his new role is to launch a royal commission on robodebt as soon as possible.

The robodebt scheme, which was later ruled illegal, used an automated system that measured a person’s average income to claim hundreds of millions of dollars in alleged debt from 433,000 Centrelink beneficiaries. The government settled a class action lawsuit in 2020 for a total cost of more than $1.8 billion.

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Despite the legal action and multiple investigations, Shorten said it was still unclear who was ultimately responsible for the scheme.

He also wants the royal commission to provide wider lessons for the government on using algorithms and automation to decide payments, including those for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, opinion and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up for our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.

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