News National Government recovers $40m in debts from welfare fraud tip-offs

Government recovers $40m in debts from welfare fraud tip-offs

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The Australian Government recently announced that it is serious about protecting the integrity of the welfare system and that tip-offs are a very important source of information which helps to discover fraud and ensure people who commit it are caught and prosecuted where appropriate.

In 2016-17, the Department of Human Services received a total of 108,798 tip-offs relating to its Welfare Programme. Over the past four years, there has been a 10 percent increase in the number of tip-offs received.

The welfare debts raised through tip-offs in 2016-17 totalled nearly $40 million. In addition, the estimated fortnightly savings to the taxpayer as a result of this work totalled $1.4 million.

During 2016-17, the Department referred 118 matters to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions as a direct result of receiving a tip-off.

All tip-offs from the public are assessed by specialist staff and they invest substantial effort to ensure they are dealt with appropriately.

Tip-offs are received by the Department from numerous sources, including telephone, online, email, letters, direct contact at a Service Centre or other government departments and agencies.

The Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge said that while the vast majority of welfare recipients do the right thing, the unfortunate reality is that some people deliberately defraud the system.

“We are putting more effort into cracking down on welfare fraud than ever before because nothing annoys the taxpayer more than others ripping them off,” said Minister Tudge.

“Taxpayers are happy to support those who are down on their luck but they expect integrity in the system.

“Tip-offs have become a very important source of information which helps us discover fraud and ensure people who commit it are caught and prosecuted where appropriate.”

If you suspect someone is committing welfare fraud you can report it via the Reporting Fraud webpage at humanservices.gov.au/fraud or by calling the Fraud Tip-Off Line on 131 524.

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