what does robodebt mean ?


Robodebt was an automated debt assessment and recovery scheme used by the Australian government agency, Services Australia, as part of its Centrelink payment compliance program. The scheme was implemented in July 2016 and used averaged Australian Taxation Office (ATO) income information to compare with Centrelink records. If there was a discrepancy, a debt notice was issued to the welfare recipient.

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The scheme was controversial from the outset, with critics arguing that it was unfair and inaccurate. In 2019, the Federal Court ruled that the scheme was unlawful, and Services Australia was ordered to pay back the debts that had been raised.

The Impact of Robodebt

The Robodebt scheme had a significant impact on many welfare recipients. In some cases, people were wrongly accused of owing thousands of dollars, and they were forced to go through a lengthy and stressful process to clear their names. The scheme also caused significant financial hardship for many people, who were forced to cut back on essential expenses or even go into debt.

The Aftermath of Robodebt

In the wake of the Federal Court ruling, Services Australia has been ordered to pay back the debts that were raised under the Robodebt scheme. The government has also announced a number of measures to improve the accuracy and fairness of the Centrelink payment compliance program.


The Robodebt scheme was a flawed and unfair system that caused significant harm to many welfare recipients. The scheme has been rightly condemned by the courts and the public, and the government has taken steps to address the problems that it caused. However, the full impact of Robodebt will not be known for many years to come.

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