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9.2.5 Ombudsman Act 1976
126.96.36.199 — The Commonwealth Ombudsman is empowered to investigate (informally and in private) complaints about administrative actions of Australian Government departments and most statutory authorities (known as 'agencies'). A pensioner may approach the Commonwealth and Defence Force Ombudsman at any time (either in writing or via a telephone inquiry) about any matter in relation to an overpayment. However the Ombudsman will not usually investigate a complaint if there is a right of review still open which has not been exercised, or if there is a review in progress.
188.8.131.52 — The Ombudsman's office is primarily concerned with maladministration and its role is to make recommendations for resolution of the dispute. Complaints regarding delays or dissatisfaction with the service given, rather than the merits of the determination, are investigated. The Ombudsman can compel people to answer questions or produce documents in the course of an investigation, but has no power to actually review decisions made under the VEA. Recommendations will be made to correct any decision that the Ombudsman finds was unjust, unreasonable or incorrect. The Ombudsman cannot substitute his decision for the Department's decision, but may inform the Prime Minister and the Parliament if recommendations are not acted upon within a reasonable time.
184.108.40.206 — Recovery action is to proceed even where a client has lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman. This, again, applies to the imposition of any penalty interest and administrative charge incurred.