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Weak Maharey Loses Ground Quickly On Benefit Fraud

ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said new figures showing a sharp drop in the amount of identified domestic purposes benefit fraud were a further demonstration of how Social Services Minister Steve Maharey has lost control of his portfolio.

“Figures released in response to my Parliamentary questions show that in the year to the end of March there was newly identified DPB fraud of $30.6 million – this is down by some $19 million on the previous year. That’s $19 million less of taxpayers’ money that we, the public, have the chance of getting back.

“This fall can be directly attributed to the Minister yielding to beneficiary advocates groups in May last year. Under pressure from them he changed the rules for fraud investigators – meaning that they were much more limited in their ability to ‘cold call’ on those suspected of fraud.

“The Minister has since admitted defeat – last month broadening the scope of cold calling once more.

“But in the meantime his weakness has cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

“With total welfare spending set to increase by about $1.5 billion in the next three years, and with now more than 15,000 mothers claiming benefits for children without named fathers, we as a country need a firm approach from our Social Services Minister – something Mr Maharey seems incapable of,” Dr Newman said.


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