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The Federal Government has used collection agencies in attempt to rein in outstanding debts. To date $500m has been referred and $123m has been recovered (success rate of approx 24%). The largest categories of outstanding payments are from the Family Tax Benefit and Parenting Payments, representing $1.6 billion of the outstanding debts.
Interestingly $1m was spent on surveillance of clients over 18 months with 1 in 3 cases resulting in no further action.
Centrelink received over 158,000 tip offs about possible fraud on its tip off line with a little of 2,400 being followed up - approximately 1.5% of all tip offs. Of these, A little over 1,400 resulted in payments being cancelled - less than 1% of all tip offs. Approximately 3,000 payments resulted in benefit payments being reduced.