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Government turns to data matching to find $2bn

Wednesday, 16 Dec 2015

IA

Part of broader push to arm agencies with analytics.

The Government is turning to data matching to claw back some $2 billion in welfare overpayments, signalling a further expansion of its analytics capabilities.

Unveiling the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann expected “nearly $2 billion in savings” to come “from two enhanced welfare payment integrity measures, using better income data matching to ensure welfare payments are made within the rules.”

The biggest of those two measures – expected to contribute some $1.3 billion in savings over three years – involves “recovering money from a greater number of people where discrepancies have been identified” between the income declared to Centrelink and PAYG records held by the tax office.

This is effectively an extension of a measure announced in the Budget in May. Where it focused on historical discrepancies, the revised measure expands the scope to 2014 and 2015 data.

The other $700 million in welfare savings is expected to come from a data matching exercise targeting non-PAYG income declared to the tax office.

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