Go to top of page

Centrelink crackdowns a $270 million flop: audit

1 March 2017
Noel Towell
Canberra Times

Government efforts to crack down on welfare have fallen hundreds of millions of dollars short of their targets, the National Audit Office has found.

The new report shows a shortfall of  $270 million on a target of $790 million from headline "compliance" efforts, announced by both Labor and Coalition governments since the 2012.


The Audit Office looked at seven of 10 Centrelink-related fraud prevention and compliance announced in budgets from 2012 to 2016 and designed to tackle "existing fraud and compliance risks affecting the integrity of the social security system."

The audit did not examine the "business as usual" anti-fraud effort.

One of the measures was Centrelink's controversial "Employment Income Matching" effort, commonly known as "robo-debt' but the Audit office's findings were limited by the relatively short period of time the program has been underway.

The ANAO's described Human Services' advice to its ministers on the progress of the compliance efforts as "ad hoc" and not consistent with what was promised at the outset.