Welfare cheats being dobbed in as public tip-offs soar

Australians are dobbing in welfare cheats at a rate of knots with the Human Services Department receiving 90,000 tip-offs in the last year.

The tip-offs relate to people allegedly wrongly claiming things like Newstart, Child Support and Medicare payments.

Government Services Minister Stuart Robert says it has saved a massive amount of money.

“It’s in excess of $100 million from memory, but the numbers are big,” Mr Robert told Sky News.

“90,000 thousand tip-offs in a given year is huge.”

Each tip-off is assessed by a specialist team within the Human Services Department which then decides if further investigation is needed.

Cases where criminal behaviour is found are referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

There has been 249 investigations stemming from tip-offs with 49 cases before the courts.

Mr Robert said the average Australian doesn’t like someone cheating welfare.

“We’ve got $184 billion that rolls out each year in one of the most highly targeted welfare schemes in the world.

“It’s about the right amount of money to  the right people at the right time.

“It’s not about defrauding the government, you’re actually taking money from your next-door neighbour and the lovely lady across the street, that’s who you’re stealing from.”

According to figures, the average Australian contributes about $7,610 to the welfare and Medicare system through their income tax.

People who suspect someone is cheating the welfare system are urged to call the Australian Government Services Fraud Tip-off Line on 131 524 or by going to the Human Services Department website

WATCH: Police hunt three men over frightening Logan armed robbery

Police have released vision of three men wanted over an armed robbery at a Logan pizza store.

Three men armed with knives kicked open the front door of the store on Kingston Rd at Waterford West at around 10pm on Friday night.

An 18-year-old female employee was threatened and forced to hand over money from the till.

The worker was uninjured in the incident.

The men then fled the store with one of them smashing the glass door on his way out.

One of the men is described as having tanned complexion, a strong New Zealand accent, approximately 180cm tall, slim build, wearing a green puffy jacket with white shirt underneath, black pants and black shoes.

He had brown eyes with his right eye having a distinctive brown spot.

The other man is described as also having a tanned complexion, wearing all black and approximately 170cm tall, slim build, with his face and hands also covered, wearing a black bandanna and big black sunglasses.

The third man is described as Caucasian, approximately 180cm tall, blue eyes, face also covered, wearing all black, and a slim build.

WATCH: Vision of three men robbing Waterford West pizza store

If you have information for Police, please contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using their online form 24 hours per day.

You can also report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.

Arrest Woman

Occupational therapist charged over alleged sexual assault of intellectually disabled woman

An occupational therapist has been charged over the alleged sexual assault of a woman with an intellectual disability.

It’s alleged the woman groomed the 38-year-old intellectually disabled victim over the course of eight months at a home in Budgewoi on the NSW Central Coast, encouraging her to have a sexual relationship.

It’s also alleged on one occasion the woman gave the victim prescription medication which made the woman sick and unable to recall what occurred.

On Friday, police executed a search warrant at the woman’s home, seizing several items.

She was arrested at Wyong Police Station around 3.30pm the same day and charged with sexual intercourse with person with intellectual disability (x2) and one count of use intoxicating substance to commit indictable offence.

She was granted conditional bail to appear at Wyong Local Court on Wednesday 2 October.

River Water

Pair found dead on boat off central Queensland

Two men have tragically died in a horror boating accident north of Yeppon overnight.

The bodies of the pair were found after people on board another boat saw the six-metre catamaran drifting near the mouth of Island Head Creek at Shoalwater around 11.30pm.

Water police were called and upon inspection officers found the Sailfish 3000 had suffered significant damage to the front, below the water line.

Police say early inquiries suggest “the boat has hit an object at speed and the two occupants have died as a result of the collision.”

They were the only people on board.

Investigations are ongoing.

Help on the way for Qld towns about to run out of water

The Premier has announced emergency water funding for drought-ravaged areas of the Granite Belt.

Annastacia Palaszczuk was in Stanthorpe today, which has also been impacted by bushfires in the last week on top of its ongoing water crisis.

The town faces running out of water by Christmas unless there’s significant rainfall, and there’s none on the horizon.

Critical water restrictions came into force at the start of the month, limiting residents to 100 litres per person, per day.

The bushfire emergency forced many residents to sacrifice what little water they had.

The State Government has today announced millions of dollars for infrastructure and to cart water into the town until the end of next year.

“These emergency funds will cover $2.4 million worth of water infrastructure, as well as costs to cart water,” Ms Palaszczuk said

“That’s an estimated $800,000 per month to cart 1.6 million litres of water in each day.

Around 34 truckloads of water will be sent to Stanthorpe each day.

The water will come from Connolly Dam in Warwick and taken to Storm King Dam.

“If the drought lifts and the wet season delivers enough water, then the carting will no longer be needed,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

The Premier today met with emergency services workers in Stanthorpe, praising them and the community for their resilience.