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The impact of changes to service delivery models on the administration and running of Government programs

Rights Rights and Freedoms

Senate Legal and Constitutional References and Legislation Committee

Summary

This submission addresses some of the principal human rights implications of Centrelink’s automated compliance and outsourced debt collection program, referred to in this submission as the ‘Centrelink Debt Program’, and also known as ‘Robodebt’.

Introduction

The Australian Human Rights Commission (the Commission) welcomes the opportunity to make this submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee (the Committee) regarding its inquiry into ‘the impact of changes to service delivery models on the administration and running of Government programs’.

This submission addresses some of the principal human rights implications of Centrelink’s automated compliance and outsourced debt collection program, referred to in this submission as the ‘Centrelink Debt Program’, and also known as ‘Robodebt’. This is the subject of item (b) in this inquiry’s terms of reference, which refers to ‘Centrelink’s Robodebt compliance and outsourced debt collection program’.(1)

This submission draws on consultations conducted by the Commission in the course of its project on human rights and technology (the Project), including an in-depth consultation that concluded earlier this year. (2) This project is ongoing, and is led by the Human Rights Commissioner, Edward Santow.


1. Terms of Reference to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee of 16 October 2019 ‘The impact of changes to service delivery models on the administration and running of Government programs’. At https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Legal_and_Constitutional_Affairs/ServiceDelivery.

2. Information about the Commission’s major project on human rights and technology can be found on the project website, tech.humanrights.gov.au, and in the Issues Paper: Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights and Technology Issues Paper (July 2018), at https://tech.humanrights.gov.au/consultation.