ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Robodebt Royal Commission must deliver answers, accountability and protections

25 August 2022

The ACT Council Social Service (ACTCOSS) has today welcomed the Robodebt Royal Commission as an important step to getting answers, accountability and better social security protections following this appalling abuse of power.

Dr Emma Campbell, ACTCOSS CEO said: “ACTCOSS’s peak body, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) led the campaign to end Robodebt and to achieve justice for those impacted, including thousands of Canberrans.

“We welcome today’s announcement and hope that it will finally make those who heartlessly pursued our community’s most vulnerable accountable,” Dr Campbell said.

Edwina MacDonald, Acting ACOSS CEO said: "It is six years since people began receiving Robodebt notices, and the Australian public still have no answers regarding who is accountable, who knew what when, and how something that was unlawful and caused so much harm was allowed to continue for so long.

"Hundreds of thousands of people were victims of Robodebt and we are yet to see anyone held to account. This Royal Commission is for the victims, and we welcome that there will be support for people who share their story.

“Robodebt hit people when they were going through the hardest of times – after the death of a family member, in the wake of a natural disaster, and when they were living on next to nothing, struggling to cover the cost of three meals a day.

"In allowing an algorithm to make crude decisions about an essential human service, Robodebt revealed disdain and contempt for people receiving social security payments.

“This Royal Commission must eliminate any possibility of Robodebt happening again and focus on improving protections for people receiving social security.  We stand ready to work with the Royal Commission in its investigation,” said Ms MacDonald.

 

ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations. Follow us @ACTCOSS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For more information or comment, please contact

ACOSS, on 0419 626 155 or
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910617