30 November 2021

NSW Labor has slammed the Liberal/National Government for helping itself to the bank accounts of the most vulnerable in what has been labelled ‘Robodebt 2.0'. NSW Shadow Minister for Finance, Anoulack Chanthivong MP, said there needed to be greater oversight and transparency of the debt recovery system to protect the most vulnerable. This follows revelations the State’s debt-collection agency unlawfully used an automated system to claw back unpaid fines from financially vulnerable people.Under this automated system, the number of garnishee orders, the direct removal of money from an individual’s bank account, increased from 6905 in 2010/11 to over 1,600,000 in 2018/19.“The Liberal Government can’t help itself. Not only are these actions unlawful, they demonstrate the Liberal Government is heartless when it comes to looking after our most vulnerable. It is completely wrong and immoral. “An unlawful deduction of $100 from someone’s bank account can mean the difference between having food on the table or going hungry. This is unacceptable. “How many people have been left penniless and hungry, with no means to support themselves or their families? It is disgraceful that our most vulnerable – many already in severe financial distress – have been treated so appallingly.  “The Government must explain itself immediately and apologise for its actions.  “Clearly, the State Liberal Government has learnt nothing from the mistakes of its Federal counterparts because here we have Robodebt 2.0. “This shameful episode must never occur again and the Government must come clean on this scandal.  “The question remains: What did the Minister know and when?”