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Welfare payments being spent on white goods

Both Centrelink and Medicare services will be located a new look Maroochydore Service Centre from Monday 18 May.
Both Centrelink and Medicare services will be located a new look Maroochydore Service Centre from Monday 18 May.

WHITE goods lender Radio Rentals earned almost half its income last year from Centrelink payments, sparking calls to tighten the payment system.

ABC reported the lender earned $90 million of its $197 million income last financial year through payment from the government's Centrepay system.

Satire: Labor to introduce penalty rates for Centrelink payments

The system helps poor Australians budget, by direct debit of bills as benefits are paid, but in recent years more such payments have gone to bills for non-essential goods.

Consumer groups have urged the government tackle weak regulations surrounding the payment system, citing concerns the company is one of several earning profits from a government program meant to help low-income Australians.

Labor Senator Doug Cameron on Friday joined such calls, urging the government put in place more stringent rules to prevent any potential misuse of the Centrepay system.

While the government has indicated it is considering reforming the rules, no specific measures have been announced to date.

Minister for Human Services Marise Payne told ABC the government did have the opportunity to make some useful protections for vulnerable consumers.

Topics:  centrelink welfare



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