Australia probes suspected fraud in flood payouts

Australia probes suspected fraud in flood payouts

26 March 2011

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Australia — AUSTRALIA said on Saturday it was investigating around A$2 million (S$2.6 million) worth of suspected fraudulent claims for payouts intended for victims of devastating floods.

The government provided cash payouts totalling A$776 million after a season of disasters including massive floods in two eastern states, Cyclone Yasi in Queensland and bushfires and floods in the west.

Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek said the government was investigating the dubious claims following some 4,500 tip-offs to a government hotline.

‘It was always going to be the largest natural disaster that Australia has faced in the terms of the number of people affected and eligible for disaster payments,’ she told ABC radio of the floods.

‘If people have deliberately defrauded the commonwealth, we take that issue very seriously.’

The Australian government provided payments of A$1,000 per adult and A$400 per child to those affected by the floods, which inundated thousands of homes – with close to 700,000 claims in total.

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