Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services

Media release: Bill Shorten wrong on Townsville Centrelink debt claims

30 July 2019

The Hon Stuart Robert MP

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services

Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, today said the former Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten’s claims of Centrelink debt notices for income compliance being issued to people in the Townsville region following the devastating floods are wrong.

There is currently no debt recovery for income compliance in the four affected post codes in the Townsville region.

‘The impact of natural disasters can be absolutely devastating for the families and communities impacted – not least those in Townsville during the floods this year,’ Mr Robert said.

‘The last thing people in the Townsville region need are false rumours of debt notices for income compliance being issued. I want to reassure people in the Townsville region that debt recovery for income compliance recovery has not recommenced and it will not be commencing in the foreseeable future.

‘During natural disaster events such as cyclones, bushfires or floods, it is routine practice for my department to temporarily suspend compliance activities within the affected area.

‘The Department of Human Services assists people facing difficult situations every day and consider any special circumstances. The department have very carefully considered how to best work with people identified as vulnerable and staff receive regular training to help them provide the best possible support.

‘When the department are informed about changes in people’s circumstances or current difficulties, they can tailor a solution for their situation. There is a network of social workers provide short-term counselling, support and information for people in a time of crisis.

‘I encourage anyone who wants more information or to talk through options to speak with the department.’

 

Page last updated: 30 July 2019