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Auditor General’s Report condemns Government handling of DCSI concession bungle

Key findings of the Auditor General’s Report into the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion – Concession: June 2016 found that up to 28% of eligible concession clients were not processed and millions of dollars have been misspent because of DCSI departmental bungling.

“This Auditor General’s report is damning,” said Shadow Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion Dr Duncan McFetridge.

“It shows that Minister Bettison is completely out of her depth. She has failed to take responsibility and address the enormous issues created by poor government policy and her department’s ongoing bungling.

“Millions of dollars of taxpayers money has gone down the tube to address problem after problem – and it’s still not fixed!

“Firstly $2.59 million in overpayments to energy retailers were paid to ineligible clients. Then 4,350 concession payments were paid to households where the applicant was deceased.

“Then DCSI lost files and had to review almost 700,000 customer records manually.

“The Minister then decided to dump the Concession and Rebates Tracking system (CARTS) in favour of the new CASIS system which originally was supposed to cost $600,000 but blew out to $7.4 million!

“The system still didn’t work so DCSI developed a new system called COLIN (Cost of Living Information System) and over 206,000 clients have been unable to be matched resulting in overpayments amounting to $2.59 million. And it doesn’t end there.

“It’s just a mess and it needs to be resolved.  Every single step is one bungle after another by Minister Bettison and her lack of leadership over her Department has cost taxpayers millions.

“Even yesterday my office was getting complaints from constituents who haven’t been able to get through to the concession hotline to have their applications processed and issues resolved.

“It’s a shocking state of affairs for pensioners, low-income earners and those who are disadvantaged and it just has to stop,” said Dr McFetridge.