Prosecuting Welfare Fraud: What's Changed?
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Between 2009-10 and 2016-17, the rate of Centrelink fraud prosecutions fell by around 80 per cent as a proportion of Centrelink customers (see Table 1 below). This is remarkable considering the national dialogue continues to promote a 'tough' response to welfare fraud. In fact, the Department of Human Services (DHS) (which absorbed Centrelink's functions and brand name in 2011), restated its 'zero tolerance' approach to fraud in its most recent Corporate Plan. How then can we explain this swift and dramatic decline in the prosecution rate?