Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services

Media release: Bushfire recovery assistance rorters will be caught

9 February 2020

The Hon Stuart Robert MP

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services

Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert today put fraudsters on notice reminding them Services Australia is keeping a watchful eye for any fraudulent claims for bushfire recovery assistance.

The reminder comes as the Australian Federal Police confirm a 50-year-old Tuncurry, New South Wales, man has been charged with allegedly fraudulently obtaining Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments (AGDRP) he was not entitled to and dishonestly influencing Services Australia public officials related to the NSW Bushfires.

Over $100 million has been provided in disaster recovery payments to bushfire impacted communities with more than 75,000 claims processed since 16 September 2019.

Mr Robert said claims for financial assistance arising from the bushfires over the summer period were being examined by dedicated interagency teams led by Services Australia.

‘Whilst the vast majority of people who claim disaster assistance are honest in their dealings with the government and are in urgent need of help, unfortunately, a small number of people set out to deliberately claim benefits they’re not entitled to,’ Minister Robert said.

‘Services Australia have specialist teams and sophisticated fraud detection programs operating in real time to prevent fraudulent claims.

‘The Morrison Government takes all allegations of fraud seriously and assess all allegations we receive.’

Minister Robert said cases of serious fraud would be referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Convicted persons faced large fines and even imprisonment.

Suspected welfare fraud can be reported via the “Reporting Fraud” page on the Services Australia website at servicesaustralia.gov.au/fraud, or by calling the Australian Government Services Fraud Tip-off Line on 13 15 24.

Page last updated: 9 February 2020