On 18 June 2018, the National Social Security Rights Network, in partnership with Community Legal Centres QLD, hosted a free webinar Commonwealth prosecutions of social security fraud. A recording of this webinar and related materials are archived on the CLC QLD website.
Changes to welfare fraud prosecution
In recent times, there has been a sharp decline in the welfare fraud prosecution rate by the Department of Human Services (DHS), which may come as good news to community legal centre workers and the people they help.
In this webinar, Dr Scarlet Wilcock, Lecturer, University of Wollongong, and Board Member of Welfare Rights Centre, illuminated the reasons underpinning this trend, and highlighted the potential for sustained reform of welfare fraud prosecution strategies, including:
- the effect of quantitative prosecution targets
- changes to the pool of cases selected for prosecution, including the reduction in the proportion of women prosecuted for welfare fraud
- the uptake and development of an intelligence-led policing approach to fraud investigations, and
- the changed culture among fraud investigators.