Hearing block 4 information
The Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme will resume public hearings on Monday 20 February 2023, with the fourth and final hearing block running until Friday 10 March 2023.
A list of witnesses scheduled for week one of hearing block 4 is now available: Hearing Block 4 | Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme.
Hearing block 4 will continue the Commission’s inquiry into the fairness, legality and policy considerations of the Robodebt scheme.
To inform the Commission’s understanding, this hearing block will include the introduction of three expert reports:
- An end-to-end review of data-matching and debt-raising processes involving DHS and the ATO which includes maps of each stage of the OCI, EIC and CUPI processes;
- Analysis of patterns of employment and earnings of income support recipients at relevant times relating to the Robodebt scheme;
- Measures and possible reforms that might be undertaken by or in respect of the Australian Public Service in light of the evidence presented to the Commission.
In addition, a number of submissions that the Commission has received from academics and organisations will be tendered and published to the Commission’s website during this hearing block. These submissions include advice to the Commission on key matters of a technical or specialist nature.
During the final public hearing the Commission intends to focus on the following matters:
- The impacts of the Robodebt scheme on individuals and employees of the Department of Human Services, now Services Australia, during the administration of the scheme;
- What was known in the offices of ministers for Social Services and Human Services about the legality and fairness of the scheme during its establishment, implementation and dismantling;
- The report from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner on data matching and income averaging;
- The extent of the inquiry by the Commonwealth Ombudsman into the Robodebt scheme;
- Defence of the applications for review to the Federal Court in Amato and Masterton and the advice of both the Australian Government Solicitor and the Solicitor-General;
- The proposal for the expansion of the scheme to sensitive cohorts;
- The ongoing defence of the legality and justifications of the scheme, despite evidence mounting that the scheme was not lawful or fair;
- The class action brought by Gordon Legal representing victims of Robodebt and the response to the Federal Court’s judgment by Services Australia;
- Engagement with the Office of Legal Services Coordination; and
- The winding up of the scheme, including the recalculation of “debts” and the payment of refunds and settlements, and the administration of this by Services Australia. Hearings will be held at the Grand Windsor Ballroom, Pullman Hotel King George Square, corner Ann and Roma streets, Brisbane.
The hearings are open to the public although seating is limited. Any member of the public who is considering attending in person is encouraged to pre-register via Eventbrite.
The hearings will also be streamed live through the Royal Commission's website, with the video and transcript available afterwards.
For media enquiries, email RRC.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0499 972 876.