There are claims welfare cheats have cost Australia almost $5 billion, with more than one million debts owed to Centrelink alone.
The startling revelations has forced the Government to call upon the Australian Federal Police to set up a taskforce to pursue criminal charges and attempt to recover some of the debt. It’s understood Human Services Minister Stuart Robert will announce the taskforce today.
The government is hopeful it will also act as a deterrent to anyone thinking of rorting government payments.
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Those found to have knowingly over-claimed benefits will face criminal charges and fines and could also have their assets seized.
As of September, 1.1 million known Centrelink debts totalled $3 billion.
The Department of Human Services has also identified an additional $1.7 billion in overpayments, which the AFP taskforce will pursue.
Nine AFP officers as well as an assistant commissioner will work on the taskforce along with 300 officers from the Department of Human Services.