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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 5639

Mr BOWEN (Minister for Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law and Minister for Human Services) (11:50 AM) —With due respect to my honourable friend, I do not think it is accurate to say that the human services expenditure is the largest and fastest growing part of the federal budget. The human services expenditure that I am responsible for relates to the administration of the Human Services portfolio, which relates to the budgets for Centrelink, Medicare, the Child Support Agency and the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service. It is not related to the direct payments to Australians. The member’s question goes to welfare and to the expenses under the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolio, which I am not responsible for.

I am happy to give him some general comments. The government, of course, closely monitors expenditure in all its areas and ensures, in particular, that appropriate fraud and non-compliance initiatives are in place. But in relation to my responsibility, which is the administration of the Department of Human Services, it is not the largest and fastest growing area of government expenditure.