Media release: Income compliance program class action settlement approved
Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC
The Federal Court of Australia has approved the proposed settlement for the Income Compliance Program class action.
As part of the Court’s decision, group members who objected to the proposed settlement will be given a second opportunity to opt-out of the class action.
Services Australia will now administer the Settlement Distribution Scheme in consultation with Gordon Legal and an independent Scheme Assurer (KPMG), appointed to provide quality assurance and ensure transparency throughout the process.
Minister for Government Services Linda Reynolds said bringing this matter to a close was a priority for the Government.
“I welcome the Court’s decision to approve the settlement,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Clearly this has been a very difficult process for all involved and we apologise for the way aspects of this program were administered.
“I am committed to ensuring the lessons learnt and improvements we have made from this experience continue to be applied to all of the agency’s future work.
“As of May the agency has refunded $725 million to around 418,000 people or 96.5% of eligible customers.
“I can assure group members that Services Australia is now focused on delivering settlement payments to eligible group members as soon as possible.
“People who are part of the class action do not need to do anything at this stage.
“I’d like to thank group members in advance for their patience while the agency works through these important next steps to ensure everyone gets the correct outcome.”
The Agency will write to all objecting group members within 8 weeks to give notice of the option to opt out of the settlement.
Settlement payments will be calculated in lieu of interest that group members could have earned on money they had repaid.
The amount each individual will receive will vary depending on how much they repaid on their debt, and how long they were without the money before it was refunded.
Not every group member will be eligible for a settlement payment.
Services Australia will write to all group members again once their debts have been categorised to let them know if they are eligible for a settlement payment.
For more information, group members should go to servicesaustralia.gov.au/classaction