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Former small business ombudsman wants ‘compassion’ for those overpaid welfare due to jobkeeper

Kate Carnell defends tax office decision not to pursue businesses and suggests similar treatment for individuals who made ‘honest mistakes’

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The Morrison government has been urged to show compassion to welfare recipients it is pursuing for $33m in jobkeeper overpayments due to “honest mistakes” and consider waiving the debts.

Former small business ombudsman Kate Carnell made the comments to Guardian Australia after the Australian Taxation Office revealed on Friday it had let mostly small businesses off the hook for $180m in wage subsidy overpayments because the money was passed on to employees.

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