Media Release: Taskforce Integrity cracks down on welfare fraud in Coffs Harbour

7 October 2016

The Hon Alan Tudge MP

Minister for Human Services

The joint Australian Federal Police and Department of Human Services Taskforce Integrity is hitting the streets in Coffs Harbour next week to detect and talk about welfare fraud.

Since July last year the Taskforce has been targeting high risk areas around the country, uncovering $21.3 million in debt owed to the Commonwealth.

It has uncovered 184 cases of potential welfare fraud which are under investigation, 33 of which have been referred to the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.

As well as detecting those in the community who intentionally do the wrong thing, Taskforce Integrity is equally focussed on educating people about how to avoid accumulating a debt with the Department of Human Services.

It is crucial that people receiving Australian Government payments update the department if their circumstances, including their income or relationship status, change.

The Taskforce will be educating the community about welfare fraud and encouraging people to update their details on Thursday 13th October and Friday 14th October at:

  • the Coffs Harbour Service Centre on Duke Street, and
  • Toormina Gardens on Toormina Road.

Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, said that Taskforce Integrity is focussed on identifying those in the community who are intentionally defrauding the system.

“While most people do the right thing, it is unfortunate that some people continue to claim more than they are entitled to,” Mr Tudge said.

“Taskforce Integrity uses advanced technology to identify customers who intentionally declare no income or less than they earn, along with other types of welfare fraud in the Coffs Harbour area.

“People who cheat the welfare system are committing a serious offence and there are serious consequences, which can include prosecution and even a prison sentence.

“I encourage Coffs Harbour residents to go and talk to the Taskforce team on Thursday or Friday if they think someone is committing welfare fraud. People are also welcome to report suspected fraud online at humanservices.gov.au/fraud or by calling the fraud tip off line on 131 524.”