The Federal Government has allocated substantial funds in the 2009 Federal Budget to boost the anti-fraud, call centre and online IT infrastructure capacity of welfare agency Centrelink.
$43.2 million was allocated to stop welfare recipients defrauding Centrelink, with an undisclosed slice to go towards better use of technology.
"This important measure will improve the overall integrity of the system, and strengthen already rigorous anti-fraud programs, so that taxpayers' dollars go where they are really needed," said Human Services Minister Joe Ludwig in a statement released tonight.
Ludwig cited "better use of technology to identify Centrelink customers at the highest risk of non-compliance" as one area within the welfare agency that would receive a portion of the funding.
A portion of the funds will also go towards data matching that will target some recipients not correctly declaring income from pensions in the United Kingdom.
Centrelink will also receive $5.7 million in the year ahead to support its IT infrastructure supporting its online service delivery, with Ludwig pointing out the global financial crisis would increase the number of customers using the welfare agency's infrastructure.
The welfare agency also received a boost to support the customer service in its call centres, with the budget papers revealing the agency would receive $120 million to ensure it could meet increased demand.
The government will also establish an ongoing data mining capability within Centrelink, using what the budget papers described as "advanced statistical techniques" to target customers at a high risk of fraud, with the initiative slated to provide net savings of $57.4 million over four years.
However, Centrelink is expected to lose a portion of its general operating ICT budget over the next several years, with the agency's chief information officer John Wadeson reportedly recently flagging the cuts publicly.