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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 5692

Mr McCLELLAND (Attorney-General) (7:37 PM) —I will answer in the time available. Obviously, the investigation of criminal matters by the Federal Police is a matter dealt with by the Minister for Home Affairs. Can I say that the government takes any suggestion of fraud of a government service very seriously. I was stopped by a schoolteacher of my daughter, the other day, to point out to me that on a schoolteacher’s income he would not have been able to afford insulation of his home. He has had his first winter quarterly bill and it is considerably lower.

Mr Wood —How is this relevant?

Mr McCLELLAND —It is directly relevant because of the consequences of fraud that have ultimately damaged a program. Poor work performance and fraud have damaged a program that would have resulted in many working-class families, who would not otherwise have had access to these resources, having lower power bills in the first quarter of this year. Obviously the second quarter, in winter, will also reflect lower power bills on an ongoing basis.

The government takes the issue of fraud very seriously. With respect to other matters, the Australian Federal Police is aware of allegations of fraud and is investigating those. You surely do not expect either me or the minister to have the numbers of officers that have been allocated. In terms of operational matters, you know and I know that those matters are not disclosed. I can tell you that the matters are being investigated by the Federal Police. I am not telling you, because you would not expect me to know, how many officers have been allocated to the purpose. I can tell you that the government takes any allegation of fraud with respect to this program, and indeed any fraudulent access to Commonwealth programs, most seriously. These matters are being investigated by the Australian Federal Police.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Debate (on motion by Dr Jensen) adjourned.