Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Reviews up 32% as Queenslanders dob in welfare cheats

Reviews into welfare fraud resulting from public tip-offs increased by 32 per cent in Queensland between July 1 and December 31, 2000, Minister for Community Services Larry Anthony said today.

“Centrelink’s half year Compliance Report shows as a direct result from tip-off’s from Queenslanders, debts of $2.8 million were raised. This is a saving to the taxpayer of almost $153,000 per week.

“Nationally, reviews from tip-offs increased by 58 per cent. Centrelink conducted 36,423 tip-off reviews resulting in 8,211 payment cancellations or reductions and debts of $16.1 million being raised.

“Many members of the public see it as their civic duty to inform Centrelink of people who are receiving taxpayers’ money they’re not entitled to. Clearly Queenslanders and indeed all Australians are fed up with people ripping off the system.

“Overall, Centrelink conducted 246,000 entitlement reviews resulting in 24,000 payment cancellations or reductions and debts of over $29 million were raised over the six months in Queensland alone.

“Nationally, the Government’s welfare fraud measures saved Australian taxpayers almost $8.6 million a week and raised debts of $146.5 million.

“It must be remembered that the majority of people who receive welfare payments are honest and entitled to those payments. Unfortunately there is a small number of people who still seek to cheat their fellow Australians.

“Those who deliberately set out to rip off their fellow Australians should know that they will be caught and serious offenders will be prosecuted.

“These measures are delivering a stronger and more equitable welfare system.

“The message to those rorting the system is clear – .if you cheat your fellow Australians, you will be caught,” Mr Anthony said.