Media Release: Taskforce Integrity turns its focus to Ipswich

28 July 2016

The Hon Alan Tudge MP

Minister for Human Services

The Australian Government’s Taskforce Integrity will ramp up its crackdown on welfare fraud in Ipswich this week.

“Taskforce Integrity is operating in hot spots around the country to ensure Australia’s welfare safety net is strong and sustainable,” Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge said.

“Operations in the Ipswich region have identified more than $2.3 million in overpayments and 19 cases of suspected fraud over the last seven months.

“Three referrals have also been made to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

“Taskforce Integrity is focussing on cases where welfare recipients are either not declaring, or are incorrectly declaring, their circumstances, meaning they are receiving welfare payments they are not entitled to.

“The taskforce is also examining data-matching that identifies cases where people report a different relationship details to different Government agencies. For example, someone may claim partnered relationship status to obtain a larger public housing residence, but claim single status for a higher rate of welfare payment.

“An important part of this work is the taskforce’s public presence in Ipswich this week, where the team will be on hand to answer questions about its work.”

Taskforce Integrity will be at the Ipswich Service Centre on East Street and at the Riverlink Shopping Centre on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 July. The community is encouraged to visit to update their details or to discuss the work of the taskforce.

This activity builds on past operations in the Rockdale (NSW), Werribee (Victoria) and Caboolture/Deception Bay (Queensland) areas.

“Across all areas so far, the taskforce has identified $19.6 million in debt owed to the Commonwealth and 135 cases of potential welfare fraud which are being investigated,” Minister Tudge said.

“Sixteen of these potential welfare fraud cases have been referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, with more likely to follow. These results show the Government’s commitment to protecting the integrity of the welfare system.

“Most people are honest and do the right thing. However, there is a small segment of the community who try to defraud the welfare system and actively seek to avoid detection.

“It’s important people understand that deliberately withholding information or providing false information may amount to fraud, which can have serious consequences.”