26 September 2023

Heated welcome for bushfire fraudsters

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Services Australia is on the lookout for anyone fraudulently claiming compensation from the Government’s bushfire recovery scheme, with a NSW man arrested last week for allegedly defrauding it.

Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert said claims for financial assistance were being examined by dedicated interagency teams led by Services Australia.

“Whilst the vast majority of people who claim disaster assistance are honest in their dealings with the Government and are in urgent need of help, unfortunately, a small number of people set out to deliberately claim benefits they’re not entitled to,” Mr Robert said.

He said more than $100 million had been provided in disaster recovery payments to bushfire-impacted communities so far, with more than 75,000 claims processed since 16 September.

Mr Robert said Services Australia had specialist teams and sophisticated fraud detection programs “operating in real time” to prevent fraudulent claims.

He said the Department would take all allegations of fraud seriously and would assess every allegation it received.

He said cases of serious fraud would be referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, with large fines and even imprisonment looming for those found guilty.

Suspected welfare fraud can be reported via the Services Australia website at this PS News link.

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