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Television Interview - Flashpoint WA

The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP

Statement on historic income apportionment

The Federal Government welcomes the release of the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s statement into the historic practice of income apportionment used by Services Australia.

We appreciate the time and care the Ombudsman has taken to investigate this serious and complex matter.

The practice of income apportionment has not been used to calculate social security payments since July 2021. Agencies have confirmed this has not happened under the Albanese Labor Government’s watch. However, there may be potential debts or overpayments that remain unresolved.

We agree with the Ombudsman’s findings that this issue has taken too long to resolve and needs to be settled as quickly as possible.

Importantly income apportionment is different to the practice of income averaging which was at the heart of Robodebt – the Ombudsman has made this distinction clear.

The Government has directed the Department of Social Services and Services Australia to resolve the outstanding legal issues on this matter as a priority.

Administration of the Social Security Act 1991 and responsibility for settling the legal advice sits with the Secretary of the Department of Social Services. Minister Rishworth has asked for an update by the end of the month.

Any Australian who wants to query a debt matter should contact Services Australia for a review on 1800 076 072.

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