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Australia's Government Ends Robodebt Class Action, Agrees To Pay $1.2 Billion

Australia's federal government on November 16 agreed to pay out $1.2 billion, which is the largest class action in the country’s history.

Australia

The Australian government on November 16 agreed to pay out $1.2 billion, which is the largest class action in the country’s history. According to Ladbible, the government will repay and compensate all the people affected by the Robodebt recovery programme, which raised automated debts against welfare recipients. The programme was slammed because it asked the welfare receipts to pay back debts and was operated by computer algorithms. Several Australians felt that they were wrongly targeted, however, as there was no human oversight, the process to dispute the payment was incredibly difficult. 

Now, the settlement has, however, reached. As per reports, Gordon Legal Partner Andrew Grech acknowledged the courage of the lead applicants Katherine, Elyane, Steven, Felicity, Shannon and Devon, who led these proceedings on behalf of all Robodebt victims in pursuit of this class action, and said that they allowed this outcome to be achieved today. The $1.2 billion the Australian government will repay will, additionally, also include $721 million payment that was announced back in May. The Federal government also said that the money would be given back to nearly 370,000 people who were wrongly pursued by the computerised programme. 

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‘Illegal protection racket’ 

Furthermore, the Australian government on Monday also revealed the additional settlement of $112 million in compensation for those affected, as well as repaying $398 million in debts that were wrongly requested. While taking to Twitter, Australian Shadow Minister Bill Shorten called the outcome a “massive step forward” and added that 400,000 victims of the “government’s illegal protection racket” have got some justice.

Previously, Australian PM Scott Morrison had apologised for the hurt that the programme cause. He had said that he “deeply regrets” any hardship that has been caused to the people in the conduct of the activity. The scrapped scheme matched the Australian Taxation Office and Centrelink data to claw back overpaid welfare payments. 

(Image: AP) 

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