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Labour soft on benefit fraud

Labour soft on benefit fraud

Dr Muriel Newman Wednesday, 27 July 2005

Press Releases - Social Welfare

New information that reveals hundreds of beneficiaries have debts of up to $220,000 and are paying off their debts at pathetic weekly rates of between $10 and $40 reinforces the Labour Government's soft-on- welfare attitude, ACT Deputy Leader Dr Muriel Newman said today.

Answers to Parliamentary Questions from the Labour Government show the biggest Invalid Benefit debt is $222,289.15, which will take 160 years to pay off.

"One Unemployment Benefit fraudster owes $201,058.22 and is paying it back at $10 a week, which will take 386 years to pay off!

"The top Domestic Purposes Benefit is $183,481.77 and the biggest Sickness Benefit debt is $159,245.56.

"This is welfare crime. These people have stolen this money from the taxpayer because they know they can rip off the system and will never have to pay all of the money back," Dr Newman said.

"How can Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey accept that former or current beneficiaries who have taken around $200,000 of hardworking taxpayers money illegally are only being required to repay their debt at pathetic rates of around $520 a year?

"At an interest rate of 7%, the interest alone is worth about $14,0000 a year.

"These people will die having milked the taxpayer of $100,000 or $200,000 - enough to buy a house.

"Labour and Maharey are a disgrace. They pretend to get hard on welfare fraud, but the truth is they are soft on their favoured voters," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

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