Queenslanders love dobbing in dole cheats
AUSTRALIANS are grassing up their neighbours over welfare fraud and dole bludging at a greater rate than ever before.
Queenslanders were already among the most ready to dob in a welfare cheat, but have also had one of the highest increases in the number of tip offs made.
The number of welfare tip offs nationally has increased each year for the past four years, rising from 99,106 in 2013-14 to 108,798 in 2016-17.
Queensland was responsible for almost a quarter of the tip offs in the past financial year, Department of Human Services data reveals.
It received 25,0487 warnings in 2016-17 through its welfare fraud hotline, "reporting fraud" online portal, MP offices or otherwise - up almost 14 per cent compared to three years ago.
NSW had the highest number of people referring their neighbours for welfare fraud, 31,041, but saw almost no increase in the rate over the past three years.
More than 21,400 people dobbed in welfare frauds in Victoria in 2016-17, but this was less than a 5 per cent increase from 2014-15.
All tips received by the department are investigated in a bid to detect fraud and prosecute cheats where necessary.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said most welfare recipients did the right thing, but some people were deliberately defrauding the system.
"We are putting more effort into cracking down on welfare fraud than ever before because nothing annoys the taxpayer more than others ripping them off," he said.
"Taxpayers are happy to support those who are down on their luck but they expect integrity in the system.
"Tip offs have become a very important source of information which helps us discover fraud and ensure people who commit it are caught and prosecuted where appropriate."
The 108,000 tip offs nationwide last year resulted in 118 referrals to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and recovered $40 million in debt.
As part of a broader welfare crackdown, the Turnbull Government is planning to rollout a trial to drug testing welfare recipients in three locations, including Logan in Queensland.
It is planned to start from January 1, but has yet to get the support in the Senate to pass the legislation required to do this.