Media release: 90,000 Australians make the call to help stamp out welfare, Medicare and Child Support fraud
The Hon Stuart Robert MP
The Department of Human Services received more than 90,000 public tip-offs about welfare, Medicare and Child Support fraud in the 2018-19 financial year. These acts of community service come as the Federal Government administers $184 billion in payments each year, about a third of total annual government expenditure.
Each public tip-off is assessed by members of the Department’s specialist tip-off team. Importantly information can be provided anonymously online or on the phone and is handled in strict confidence and kept confidential. If evidence of criminal behaviour is found, the Department refers cases to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, which may lead to criminal charges and jail.
‘While the vast majority of people are honest and do the right thing there are a small number of people who abuse department services and get money for which they’re not eligible. Australians expect their Government to maintain the integrity of our highly targeted welfare system. Meeting fraud head on is vitally important,’ Minister Robert said.
Public tip-offs are an important part of the suite of welfare integrity measures used by the Department including Digital Forensics Laboratories and Taskforce Integrity, which is a joint operation between the Department and the Australian Federal Police.
‘Today’s figures are really encouraging and I commend the tens of thousands of individuals for making the call and doing their part to maintain the integrity of our welfare system. Whether through enhancing our digital forensics capabilities, through Taskforce Integrity or through our public tip-off channels this government is ensuring fraud is deterred, disrupted and prosecuted’
In 2018-19, the average Australian earned $83,454 and paid $19,259 in tax. This means the average Australian makes a contribution of $7,610 of their income to our welfare system, or just over 9% of their earnings – this equates to the average Australian contributing just over a month of their working year to supporting the welfare and Medicare bills.
If you think someone’s committing fraud, you should report it. We take all reports of suspected fraud seriously. People are encouraged to report suspected welfare fraud by going to humanservices.gov.au/fraud or by calling the Australian Government Services Fraud Tip-off Line on 131 524.