Monday, 22 May 2017

RoboDebt; Not My debt; CentreLink Enquiry

HI all,

Earlier this year the Federal Government commissioned the Senate to complete an enquiry into the Design, scope, cost-benefit analysis, contracts awarded and implementation associated with the Better Management of the Social Welfare System initiative . The less confusing version is: "CentreLink and the experiences of people during the so-called 'robo-debt' collection.” 

It was great to read so many organisations highlighted the needs of the many vulnerable people in the community who have lots of difficulty in accessing numerical and financial information, or even knowing what are their Rights. 

I was invited to present to the Senate enquiry in person (teleconference). On Thursday 27 April, 2017, I presented to the Australian Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs regarding my submission, access and information at CentreLink, both low adult literacy and also low computer literacy in our community.

The Hansard recording of my hearing presentation is here. Look under Launceston 27 April, 2017.

The Advocate"…/…/centrelink-english-learnt/ and "The Examiner"…/462…/centrelink-english-learnt/ also reported on my presentation, as well as other presentations from the Launceston hearing, including mentioning my evidence.

I included some information on numerical literacy in my submission. In my presentation I focused more specifically on the breadth and extent of low literacy skills in our community, and also the lack of computer literacy (and access to the hardware/internet) in the community, required to access CentreLink.

I could have also discussed the huge percent of adults with low Numerical Literacy in our community, but there is only so much you can emphasize in a 35 minute conversation. The import of my message was heard.

Another submission used the term "CentreLink English" to describe how difficult it is to read and understand information from CentreLink. I was asked about whether I had heard this term before! No, but just imagine you walk into a new job. Everyone uses acronyms, phrases and words that are familiar to them, but completely unfamiliar to you, the outsider. Yes, that is what CentreLink English is like.

The report from this enquiry is due out in early June 2017.
Next: is to hear what will happen for change. 
What will the recommendations be? I will keep you posted.
I am here to help you develop and build awareness of the need for government documents to be accessible for people with non functional literacy. I am advertising a 2 day training “Learn to write Easy English” for June 19 & 20 in Melbourne. Flyer and booking links or contact me using any of the methods below.

Cathy Basterfield
Access Easy English
0466 579 855 
Facebook:    /accesseasyenglish

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