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Mr Frydenberg has dismissed calls for a royal commission into the controversial Robodebt scheme after the Federal Court approved a multi-million-dollar compensation payout for the victims.

“As the Prime Minister has said, on this matter … we apologise for the hurt and the harm that has been caused by the administration of that program.”

Mr Frydenberg claimed the Robodebt scheme was in fact part of Labor’s “income averaging”.

He also commented on the judges’s comments today that the debt recovery scheme was linked to suicides.

“When it comes to recovering debts, it’s a very difficult situation… Suicides, when they occur, are absolute tragedies.”

The scheme saw 443,000 Australians wrongly pursued by Centrelink for $1.7 billion in welfare debts they didn’t owe, after the Federal Government in 2016 switched to an automated income averaging system that produced false information.

Hundreds of thousands of Australians paid the debts, often at great personal expense, before it was discovered in court that the scheme was unlawful and in many cases incorrect.

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