Australian Government, 2012‑13 Budget
Budget

Part 2: Expense Measures (Continued)

Human Services

Call Centre supplementation — continuation

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Human Services - 50.9 51.3 51.7 52.2

The Government will provide $206.0 million over four years to ensure the Department of Human Services (DHS) is able to meet customer demand for call centre services and to reduce waiting times. The measure will also support the capacity of DHS' Call Centres to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.

Digital Productivity — leveraging the National Broadband Network infrastructure to enhance service delivery through video conferencing

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Human Services - - - - -
Department of Human Services - - - - -

The Government will provide $6.2 million over four years for a National Broadband Network trial to improve service delivery to selected Department of Human Services (DHS) customers. The trial will provide high‑definition video conferencing access to DHS specialist services, such as social workers and financial information officers, from a customer's home, a DHS customer service centre or from a third party organisation. The pilots will also explore the potential of the new technology to provide services to all Australians, regardless of their geographical location.

Funding for this measure was included as a 'decision taken but not yet announced' in the 2011‑12 Budget.

Further information can be found in the press release of 19 March 2012 issued jointly by the Minister for Human Services and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

This measure is part of the Government's broader digital economy strategy.

Fraud prevention and compliance — accelerated real estate review cycle

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Human Services - 2.4 3.5 3.6 3.6
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - -2.3 -17.5 -20.5 -21.3
Total - Expense - 0.1 -14.0 -17.0 -17.7

The Government will provide $14.6 million over four years to change the frequency of asset reviews for certain income support recipients from once every two years to once a year for those deemed to be most at risk of changes in the value of their real estate investments. This comprises $13.1 million to the Department of Human Services and $1.5 million to the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Currently around 200,000 Age Pension, Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment recipients own real estate in addition to their own home, which can affect their rate of payment.

The Department of Human Services will undertake up to 60,000 reviews annually, providing greater certainty for affected payment recipients about their pension assessment through a more frequent assessment cycle. The measure is expected to provide net savings of $48.6 million over four years.

Fraud prevention and compliance — increase in compliance review activity

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Human Services - 16.2 16.3 8.2 -
Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education - -6.6 -6.6 -3.3 -
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - -25.9 -30.5 -19.0 -3.7
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - -26.0 -26.1 -13.1 -
Total - Expense - -42.4 -46.9 -27.2 -3.7

The Government will provide $41.3 million over three years to increase the number of data‑matching reviews. This comprises $40.7 million to the Department of Human Services and $0.7 million to the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. The Department of Human Services will review an additional 75,000 high risk customers between 2012‑13 and 2014‑15 to identify and recover inaccurate payments.

This measure is an extension of existing compliance programs which improve the accuracy of social welfare payments and minimise debt accrued by customers. The measure is expected to provide net savings of $120.2 million over four years.

Fraud prevention and compliance — increased billing assurance for the Medicare Benefits Schedule

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Human Services - 3.3 3.1 1.2 -
Department of Health and Ageing - -6.1 -11.5 -3.1 -
Total - Expense - -2.8 -8.3 -1.9 -

The Government will provide $7.6 million over three years from 2012‑13 to develop and trial a new compliance approach for Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) billing with a select group of large and multi‑disciplinary medical practices. The Department of Human Services (DHS) will work with this group to develop and test improved billing assurance processes.

This measure will also provide additional resourcing for DHS to undertake additional practitioner reviews, and to develop new information materials to educate larger medical practices about appropriate MBS billing.

This measure is expected to provide net savings of $13.1 million over three years.

Fraud prevention and compliance — increased compliance for international risk

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Human Services 0.2 4.3 1.2 1.2 1.3
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - -26.1 -29.9 -25.3 -19.1
Total - Expense 0.2 -21.8 -28.7 -24.0 -17.8

The Government will provide $8.4 million over five years to undertake additional customer reviews to address risks to the accuracy of payments to recipients living overseas or living in Australia and receiving a foreign pension.

This comprises $8.3 million to the Department of Human Services (DHS) and $0.1 million to the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

DHS will review certain customers residing overseas to ensure that payments are not continuing after the customer has deceased. DHS will also perform additional reviews of customers in Australia who receive a foreign pension to ensure that Australian pensions are adjusted to account for any changes in international pensions, where these have not been reported to DHS.

The measure is expected to provide net savings of $92.1 million over five years.

Fraud prevention and compliance — increased recovery of high value non‑current customer debt

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Human Services - 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - - - - -
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - - -
Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education - - - - -
Total - Expense - 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5

The Government will provide $5.9 million over four years to recover debts from former Centrelink customers, focusing on high value debts. An investigative taskforce will be established to locate former customers with large outstanding debts and analyse their income and assets. Resources will also go towards debt recovery, including legal proceedings where appropriate.

The measure is expected to provide net savings over four years of $14.2 million in underlying cash terms. There will be no impact on the fiscal balance from debt recovery because these debts are already recorded as an existing asset.

Fraud prevention and compliance — matching of Medicare Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data — termination of measure

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Health and Ageing 4.5 6.7 7.8 8.8 9.9
Department of Human Services -0.9 -0.9 -0.9 -0.9 -0.9
Total - Expense 3.7 5.8 6.9 8.0 9.0

The Government will no longer proceed with the measure Fraud and compliance — matching of Medicare Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data that was announced in the 2009‑10 Budget due to associated privacy implications. Unspent funding previously provided to the Department of Human Services of $4.4 million over five years will be returned to the Budget.

Fraud prevention and compliance — new compliance data sources

Expense ($m)
2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14 2014-15 2015-16
Department of Human Services - 1.8 2.3 2.3 2.4
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - -1.8 -4.5 -5.5 -5.5
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - -6.9 -13.8 -13.9 -14.0
Total - Expense - -6.8 -16.0 -17.1 -17.2

The Government will provide $8.9 million over four years from 2012‑13 to expand the range of data used by the Department of Human Services (DHS) to reduce inappropriate access to welfare payments.

The measure will allow DHS to better identify welfare fraud through new data sources, and the more frequent use of existing sources. A number of data sources including Medicare card usage data, Australian Passport Office information, and Australian Business Register data will be utilised. Expanding the range of data sources will result in more customer investigations and the recovery of more incorrectly‑claimed payments. The measure will target emerging fraud risks, including online interactions with DHS, false identities or undeclared income from business.

The measure is expected to provide net savings of $57.1 million over four years.

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