Tens of thousands of fraudulent claims for flood relief have been made this year, with more than $10 million in support denied.
- There were 3.5 million requests for flood support between February 28, 2022 and July 31, 2022
- There have been more than 27,770 complaints which have raised suspicion
- Over 793 criminal investigations have been opened into alleged fraudulent allegations
Payments have been offered to those affected by flooding in New South Wales and south-east Queensland in February and recent flooding in Sydney in July.
Government Services Minister Bill Shorten has expressed concern that while money is being offered to those in need, others are taking advantage of the system.
“I believe the taxpayer funded safety net should go to those who need it and it really makes my blood boil when I think that some people are taking advantage of other people’s misery to steal $1,000,” he said. -he declares.
“What’s going on with people? How can people think like that?”
The support on offer includes the Australian Government’s Disaster Recovery payment of $1,000 per adult and $400 per child, as well as the Disaster Recovery Allowance which provides 13 weeks of support at the JobSeeker Allowance rate.
About 3.5 million requests for assistance were submitted between February and July following the floods.
Of these, 27,770 cases appear suspicious and approximately $10.5 million in support has been denied.
Mr Shorten said it was important that all fraudulent claims were detected by the system.
“I’m very aware that this is taxpayers’ money and I’m aware that taxpayers are happy to help fellow Australians who are struggling,” he said.
“But they expect government agencies to be as careful as possible in separating the legitimate from the illegitimate.”
Mr Shorten said he feared there had been, or could still be, opportunistic behavior that was “robbing” flood victims.
“I ask Services Australia: ‘Are we catching everyone? “”, Did he declare.
“I want to make sure that our fraud detection systems are what they should be, and that anything other than that undermines public confidence in providing victim support.”
He said there were now 793 criminal investigations underway.
Over $1 billion has been distributed to Australians this year in flood relief.