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New weapon against security fraud.

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New weapon against social security fraud


Thursday September 24, 1998


The Government will use surveillance as a potent weapon in its ongoing campaign against major social security fraud, Minister for Social Security, Senator Jocelyn Newman said today.


“The decision to use surveillance to assist in concluding investigations into suspected cases of serious and difficult to determine social security fraud arose from a successful trial earlier this year that pointed to savings of $6 for every $1 spent.


Consistent with this trial, surveillance services will be provided by only the most reputable private surveillance firms in strict accordance with guidelines determined by the Privacy Commissioner, said Senator Newman.


“This initiative demonstrates the Government’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the social security system,” said Senator Newman.


“Unfortunately some people continue to abuse the system to the detriment of others and to these people we say: ‘It’s not a matter of if you are caught, but when’.”


“Not only does welfare fraud steal from the Australian taxpayer, it stigmatises those genuine recipients of social security payments. Those who are involved in concerted attempts to defraud the system should be warned. Someone is watching.”


The Government’s efforts on social security fraud can be directly contrasted with Labor. Former Labor Social security Minister Peter Baldwin boasted before the 1996 election that his system was “tight as a drum”. Meanwhile, Labor’s own research and Clemenger’s Silent Majority report showed the real situation, that nearly every member of the community thought they knew a welfare cheat. The community had lost confidence in the system.


“We have been determined to detect and control fraud and non-compliance since we were elected in July, 1996. In this period we have saved the taxpayer more than $46 million a week,” said Senator Newman.


Media inquiries:

Richard Wilson 0419 693 092, James Pirie 0418 168 476