A Centrelink Secret, the 6 week rule.

Below is a paragraph of legislation that probably rates right up there with Julia Gillard’s secret Commonwealth credit card PIN. Conveniently ignoring this tiny fragment of Statute Law could be worth up to $100,000,000 a year or more to Centrelink. If everyone knew about this piece of law, Centrelink would have a much harder time trying to recover money that, BY ACT OF PARLIAMENT, Centrelink is not allowed to collect.

The rule is fairly simple. If Centrelink totally, 100% stuffs up and overpays you, they have 6 weeks to fix the problem.


6 weeks and after that, they have no right to demand any repayment.

What a nice rule.

Please tell everyone about this rule.

1237A   Waiver of debt arising from error. (© Crown)


Administrative error

 (1) Subject to subsection (1A), the Secretary must waive the right to recover the proportion of a debt that is attributable solely to an administrative error made by the Commonwealth if the debtor received in good faith the payment or payments that gave rise to that proportion of the debt.

Note: Subsection (1) does not allow waiver of a part of a debt that was caused partly by administrative error and partly by one or more other factors (such as error by the debtor).

(1A) Subsection (1) only applies if:

(a) the debt is not raised within a period of 6 weeks from the first payment that caused the debt; or

(b) if the debt arose because a person has complied with a notification obligation, the debt is not raised within a period of 6 weeks from the end of the notification period;

whichever is the later.

Underestimating value of property

(2) If:

(a) a debt arose because the debtor or the debtor’s partner underestimated the value of particular property of the debtor or partner; and

(b) the estimate was made in good faith; and

(c) the value of the property was not able to be easily determined when the estimate was made;

the Secretary must waive the right to recover the proportion of the debt attributable to the underestimate.  (NOTE: The source text is not in red nor is the word “must” underlined.)

Proportion of a debt

(3) For the purposes of this section, a proportion of a debt may be 100% of the debt.


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2 Responses to A Centrelink Secret, the 6 week rule.

  1. Lisa says:

    Hi Ronald, I’m in a similar situation and was wondering if you had any further information on the topic. Particularly, if Centrelink is declaring THREE years after that fact that the debtor did not declare income accurately, then would that classify as their error or the debtor? Also, how does one prove that it is their error to blame/how could they prove the above accusation?

    Thank you for sharing this very valuable information and your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


    • yadnarie48 says:

      Lisa, please check out my latest posting re Australia’s “irrelevant” crimes against humanity. The High Court’s Bhardwaj and Hellicar decisions mean that Centrelink has never had the right to arbitrarily demand the repayment of overpayments, i..e. the demands are fraudulent any people hit with these demands can file a fraud complaint with the police using s 142, “Abuse of Power” under the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act (1995).

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