Govt chases dad over 1c debt

A CALOUNDRA father-of-three feels guilty that taxpayers' money has been wasted by the Federal Government in a 10-month quest to chase up an outstanding debt he has of just one cent.

Orhan Dilbaz went to the Caloundra Post Office in November last year to settle a Child Support Agency invoice of $4954.21.

He paid with cash, so the amount was rounded down by one cent and he paid only $4954.20.

Since then, however, he has received nine monthly letters asking that he clear that remaining unpaid debt.

The cost of postage alone, even with government bulk mail discounts, would easily cover the tiny debt many times over.

"When I received the first letter, it said I owed that one cent, I called them straight away. The lady told me, 'It's computer generated, don't worry'," Mr Dilbaz said.

"But now I have nine letters.

"Someone has to worry."

Mr Dilbaz said he was prepared to pay $1 to the agency to clear the remaining debt and stop the letters.

"They should have stopped them in the first place when I called them," he said.

"It's put me in the situation that I feel guilty now."

However, after being contacted by The Daily, the Child Support Agency yesterday said it would stop the letters.

Hank Jongen, the agency's general manager, said it had looked into the matter and admitted the letters should have been cancelled.

"We apologise for the fact that it was sent after it should have been cancelled," Mr Jongen said.

"We're committed to efficient custodianship of taxpayers' money.

"The vast majority of our millions of letters are delivered accurately and for sound reasons.

"We have controls built into our system to prevent things like this from happening and we are reviewing those controls urgently to find out what has happened in this case - and to prevent it from happening again."



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