Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Government saves taxpayers $49 million per week on welfare cheats

Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson today announced that the Howard Government was saving $49 million a week on welfare fraud.

‘As of March 31 this year, the Government has saved an estimated $1.9 billion for taxpayers, which equates to a massive $49 million per week,’ said Senator Patterson.

‘This is $49 million per week of taxpayers’ money that would otherwise be in the pockets of people who are cheating or abusing the system or those just not bothering to tell Centrelink their circumstances have changed. Either way they are not entitled to these payments.

‘Unlike Labor that presided over record fraud and non-compliance, the Howard Government is responsibly managing taxpayer funds. In this year’s Budget we have announced measures that build on successful initiatives that detect and prevent cases of incorrect payments.

‘Families have benefitted from these measures, with money saved almost equating to the amount provided in the form of bonus payments to families.

‘We will ensure that we have a secure welfare safety net that supports those most in need but ensures that people receive only what they are entitled to.

‘One of the greatest risks from a Labor Government would be a reversal of this trend and a blow out in welfare payments. Under Labor’s Industrial Relations policy the ‘Work for the dole’ programme would become ‘Queue for the dole’, Senator Patterson said.’