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Heather Roy gets it wrong

01 September 2006

Heather Roy gets it wrong

ACT MP Heather Roy has got her facts wrong about benefit fraud and needs to stop feeding misinformation to the media, Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope said today.

"The Labour-led Government has zero tolerance for benefit fraud. No exceptions," Mr Benson-Pope said. "We investigate, we prosecute, and we send benefit fraudsters to jail."

"Among the cases quoted by Mrs Roy, jail terms ranged from eight months to two years, three months."

"Government's approach is actually more hard-line than in the private sector, where the effects of negative publicity sometimes outweigh the decision to prosecute. In addition, whether fraud is proven or not, we require the debt to be repaid, and that debt follows a person for life," he said.

"Mrs Roy's highlighting of these fraud cases misrepresents the true picture,"
Mr Benson-Pope said. "Fifty percent of benefit debt is for less than $500, and seventy per cent is for less than $1000. A substantial proportion of this is for recoverable advances, not fraud or overpayment," Mr Benson-Pope said.


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