It was a scathing report on an illegal and damaging scheme that harmed some of the most vulnerable people in Australia, and when the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme released its comprehensive report last month, it was welcomed by many community legal centres, including SSRV, who supported condemnation of the scheme and calls for it to be scrapped.
The report details the many injustices involved in rollout of the Robodebt scheme. It also highlights areas in need of urgent reform.
Key recommendations include:
- Designing and administering systems with users in mind, especially for people in the most vulnerable groups
- Addressing the continued stigma around social security as shameful
- Recognising the role of community legal centres, and enabling advocates access to Centrelink decision-makers though a national advocates line
- Establishing a body to monitor automated decision-making
This last point is particularly important. Many of the automation and service-delivery issues raised during the Royal Commission remain even now, resulting in unfair and non-transparent decision making. Without necessary safeguards in place, the risk of another devastating scheme like Robodebt remains real.
SSRV believe the implementation of the recommendations will achieve real systemic change to social security policy development and Centrelink service delivery.