The Australian Government’s Taskforce Integrity operation in Adelaide has delivered strong results, identifying over $2.7 million of debt owed to the Commonwealth in this region.
A Coalition Government initiative, jointly operated by the Department of Human Services and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the taskforce has now identified a total of $21.4 million of debt owed to the Commonwealth since operations began across Australia in July 2015.
Taskforce operations in Adelaide also identified over 1,000 cases of overpayments, initiated almost 3,500 compliance reviews and referred five cases of suspected fraud to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
The consequences of welfare fraud are very serious. On 3 August 2016, a man from Adelaide was found guilty and sentenced to 4 years and 9 months imprisonment, to serve a non-parole period of 2 years and 6 months, for multiple counts of fraud, dishonestly obtaining a benefit and identity theft.
During the operation in Adelaide, AFP and staff from the Department met with members of the community to help educate them about their obligations.
Members of the community also shared welfare fraud tip-offs with staff, adding to the more than 100,000 tip-offs the Department receives annually.
Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge said while most people are doing the right thing, a minority of welfare recipients are cheating the system.
“A further $2.7 million of debt owed to the Commonwealth has been uncovered in Adelaide and we are determined to ensure that taxpayer dollars are protected from fraud,” said Minister Tudge.
“Most Australians are happy to support a strong social security safety net to help those who are genuinely in need but they do not want taxpayer funds being wasted on people who are cheating the system.
“The Government is committed to strengthening the integrity of the welfare system by cracking down on fraud and overpayments to ensure taxpayers’ money only goes to those who genuinely need a helping hand.”
The next Taskforce Integrity operation will be commencing later this month in Darwin, NT.
If you think someone is committing welfare fraud, you can report it online at humanservices.gov.au/fraud or by calling the fraud tip off line on 131 524.