Media release: Taskforce Integrity heads to Tamworth
The Hon Michael Keenan MP
The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP
Tamworth residents will have their chance to dob-in a welfare cheat when Taskforce Integrity rolls into town next week.
The Taskforce is a joint operation between the Department of Human Services and the Australian Federal Police, which travels the country to address welfare fraud and educate people about their reporting obligations.
Since 2015, the taskforce has visited 16 regional centres, resulting in the identification of more than 11,000 cases of overpayment totalling nearly $37 million.
Staff from the Taskforce will be available to talk to people at the Tamworth Service Centre on Tuesday 10 April and Wednesday 11 April.
For those receiving a welfare payment, it is an opportunity to update DHS about any changes to your personal circumstances which could affect your benefits.
People can also provide tip-offs, which are an important source of information to help protect the integrity of the welfare system.
Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan said Australia has a strong welfare system and the Taskforce helps preserve its integrity by ensuring payments only go to people who are entitled to receive them.
“Most people who receive welfare payments are honest and do the right thing by keeping the department up-to-date about their circumstances, to ensure they don’t incur a debt,” Minister Keenan said.
“Taskforce Integrity isn’t about prosecuting people who make genuine mistakes—it’s about enforcing the law and deterring those who set out to commit welfare fraud.”
Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the Taskforce is contacting people in Tamworth, and encouraged residents to take the opportunity to check their details are current.
“People can update their details, report suspected welfare fraud or discuss the work of the taskforce with staff at the Tamworth Service Centre,” Mr Joyce said.
“The Government will continue to take a strong stance against non-compliance and welfare fraud.”
We urge all Tamworth residents receiving welfare payments to talk with taskforce representatives to ensure they understand their obligations.