Australia’s dole bludger capital isn’t Byron Bay in northern New South Wales or the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
In fact, it’s a suburb on Melbourne’s northern outskirts which doesn’t have any picturesque views of the ocean.
Craigieburn, 26 kilometres north of central Melbourne, is where the welfare bill has more than doubled in five years, from $22.9 million to $50.4 million, as an additional 2,027 people went on the dole.
TOP 10 WELFARE SUBURBS
1. Caboolture, north of Brisbane
2. Blacktown, western Sydney
3. Mildura, north-west Victoria
4. Frankston, south-east Melbourne
5. Deception Bay, north of Brisbane
6. Werribee, south-west Melbourne
7. St Albans, north-west Melbourne
8. Dubbo, central-west NSW
9. Auburn, western Sydney
10. Dandenong, south-east Melbourne
* Department of Human Services data on welfare recipients failing to turn up for job interviews.
Now, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has declared enough is enough.
‘While the vast majority of people do the right thing, the unfortunate reality is that some people deliberately defraud the system, while others inadvertently fail to update their records,’ the Melbourne-based Liberal MP told the Herald Sun.
During the past year alone, another 709 people in Craigieburn have started receiving either the Newstart unemployment benefit of the Youth Allowance, the newspaper said.
The Turnbull Government last year established Taskforce Integrity, bringing together the resources of the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Human Services, which administers Centrelink, to investigate Craigieburn and surrounding suburbs.
Mr Tudge said the taskforce would target the small number of welfare recipients who claimed more social security than they were entitled to.
‘Those people will be identified and potentially prosecuted,’ he said.
Craigieburn falls within the Labor-held seat of McEwen.