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Your views: on Centrelink, schools, coronavirus and bushfires

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on new Centrelink income reporting rules, schools trying to protect themselves against a deadly outbreak, and a SA bushfire inquiry.

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Commenting on the story: New Centrelink income rules after illegal robo-debt debacle

It makes me so mad. I have been complaining about how hard it is to report wages for years.

I am on a Disability Pension. I tried to keep working and thought I had reported correctly, but Centrelink decided I made mistakes as far back as 2013 to 2018.

All up I owe them over $6000, so I now have this hanging over my head.

I have organised to pay $40 a fortnight, so I will probably die before it’s paid off.

They don’t care how this has affected us. I honestly thought all was good, but now I’m trying to just move on and survive. Julie Williams

Perhaps what your writer is trying to say is that the new system will require actual income over a period, as opposed to the current system using a theoretical payment using hours and rates to work out what was potentially earned in a period, although not usually actually paid until later.

This is because the Centrelink system is based on fortnights, whereas most workers on Centrelink who use it as a necessary top-up for menial day labour get paid weekly and over a different pay period. Centrelink pay periods can start and end on any day of the week.

The system is hopelessly outdated as well as punitive, with rates that can’t be lived on unless recipients have some other form of income.

I read somewhere years ago that it cost Centrelink $2 to deliver $1 in payments, then I subsequently read that Centrelink’s IT costs alone are equal to the amount it pays out.

Yet little is heard of paying $12,000 plus a year per cardholder to billionaire Andrew Forrest’s Indue Card scheme. 

Centrelink does not seem to care how much money they spend, so long as it does not go to people who need it.

Also, what results do Job Network providers achieve? Another pile of wasted money.

So if Centrelink were a charity, at a rough guess, for every dollar that goes in, 25c might eventually make it to people who need it, over those who profit from it. – Peter Maidorn

Legalise marijuana and you can almost halve the welfare payments anyway.

Why do we have such a small group of fools controlling the majority of normal people on this topic, who have no idea about the true benefits of the law changes. – Vernon Moffatt

Commenting on the story: Govt rebukes Australian schools taking deadly virus precautions

I am appalled that Dan Tehan, the Federal Education Minister, is advising that students returning from China, if they are healthy, should attend school.

If this is really what he said, he is obviously totally ignorant and misinformed, he should not be in Government, should certainly not be the Education Minister and should resign immediately!

It is also appears to be irresponsible reporting, as any thinking person should know that a precautionary approach needs to be taken and this article could contribute to spreading the disease. John Hughes

Commenting on the story: Keelty to lead inquiry into SA bushfire response

Associate Professor Kevin Tolhurst of the Uni of Melbourne and Research fellow at the Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre has already made the case that yet another inquiry into bushfire is unnecessary, and gives numerous reasons why this is just a complete waste of time.

What Australia needs is less useless political/ideological dogma and some courageous politicians who are prepared to act on most of the outstanding recommendations, some of which go back to 1888.

The key to community safety is resourcing community bushfire education and awareness programs that allow the community to properly understand the level of risk they face so that proper preparedness occurs, and for the community to recognise and embrace the concept of shared responsibility for bushfire. 

Fire services cannot generally protect an under prepared community.

To keep this from becoming a long-winded dissertation, I strongly encourage wider awareness of the Bushfire CRC and in particular Assoc. Prof. Kevin Tolhurst’s enlightening research outcomes and published work. – Mick Ayre

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