Rebecca Cross fights debt and seeks answers from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Rebecca Cross with her daughter Amaya. In October 2016 she secured an Australia's Backyard Legend award for the help she provides to others in our community. A few months later she began her fight with the Department of Human Services to prove she should not have a $1700 Centrelink debt.
Rebecca Cross with her daughter Amaya. In October 2016 she secured an Australia's Backyard Legend award for the help she provides to others in our community. A few months later she began her fight with the Department of Human Services to prove she should not have a $1700 Centrelink debt.

RELATED STORIES: Rebecca Cross: our backyard legend

Rebecca Cross of Wallabi Point today directed hard hitting questions to the office of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

She wants answers and hopes her experience of the Department of Human Services automated data matching system and its generation of a $1700 Centrelink debt will prompt the Prime Minister to review its system and processes.

Rebecca is choosing to be proactive and asks “how many people are you going to wrongly accuse before you understand that your system is not working and hurting innocent people in the process?”

Rebecca is community minded in her choice to advocate the issue and her willingness to step forward to help others was awarded in October 2016 with the title of ‘Australia’s Backyard Legend’ as part of the inaugural Backyard Legend Day.

This is Rebecca’s letter to Mr Turnbull and today it was emailed to his office after being posted to his Facebook page.

Dear Mr Turnbull,

Your computer system sent me a bill for $1700 because it wrongly assumed it had overpaid me over six years ago.

In 2010 I was on maternity leave, had a brand new baby, was very ill and a single parent. Previously I had been in the IT department of the public service and had paid tax for a total of 20 years.

In December 2016 I was informed by your computer system that I had this debt. I then proceeded to contact your department six times for an average of one hour each time. I then had to contact my employer who I finished employment with six years ago and retrieve every single pay slip for the year in question. I then had to convert 24 pay slips into a compatible program and upload them into your system. I then had to contact your offices again to see if anyone had looked at my case and it was only then that your staff advised my debt was only $130.00. I would like to question it but am already highly infuriated by this debacle, and it is easier to pay it than ring your office again.

How much have you had to pay developers to develop this faulty system? I know they are paid well for their expertise. How much on me alone have you had to pay staff to discover that your computer system was wrong? How much are you going to provide to Legal Aid to cover cases for people wrongly billed?

I worked in the public service; I knew the questions to ask; I was persistent because I knew your system was wrong. How many people in Australia don’t have knowledge of the systems? How many people are you going to wrongly accuse before you understand that your system is not working and hurting innocent people in the process?

How much money are you going to spend on retrieving money that your computer system wrongly calculated?

It is a good thing people on welfare have the ability to vote.