The Australian Government’s Taskforce Integrity will ramp up its crackdown on welfare fraud in Adelaide this week.
The Taskforce, a joint initiative between the Department of Human Services and Australian Federal Police, operates in hot spots around the country to ensure Australia’s welfare safety net is strong and sustainable.
Taskforce Integrity has uncovered $20.3 million in debt owed to the Commonwealth since it began in July 2015 across Australia, including $2 million in welfare overpayments and 15 cases of suspected fraud in the Craigmore area of Adelaide since April this year.
In addition, four cases have been referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) as a result of investigations in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.
Taskforce Integrity will be in Salisbury and Elizabeth this week – targeting non-compliance and welfare fraud in the area, and letting people know about their obligations.
Across Australia there are 150 cases of potential welfare fraud which are under investigation of which 28 have so far been referred to the CDPP.
Along with identifying intentional fraud, Taskforce Integrity is also educating the community about how to avoid accumulating a debt with the department.
It is essential people let Centrelink know when their circumstances change, such as their income or relationship status, because these are important factors that can affect their entitlement.
The community is encouraged to ensure their details are updated and discuss the work of the taskforce at the following locations this week:
Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, said this work in South Australia builds on past operations Taskforce Integrity has carried out in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
“We should be proud that we have a strong social security safety net but must always remember that welfare payments come from taxpayers and they have a right to expect integrity in the system.” Mr Tudge said.
“While most people are honest and do the right thing, it’s unfortunate that some people intentionally try to defraud the welfare system. The consequences for those caught are serious.
“My message for the few people doing the wrong thing is it’s only a matter of time until you are caught – you can end up with a possible prosecution, a criminal record and even a prison sentence.
“During the election campaign we announced further measures to crackdown on welfare fraud – we are absolutely committed to protecting taxpayer funds and Taskforce Integrity is a key contributor to this effort.”
Media contact: Rachelle Miller 0475 804 886