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Saturday 22 September 2018

Australian Government plans to impose travel bans

The Australian Government is threatening citizens with a welfare debt that they could be hit with international travel bans.

Using inflammatory terms like "welfare debt dodgers" a Government press release issued by The Hon Michael Keenan MP, the Minister for Human Services, has threatened travel bans as part of a new push to recover money owed by those unfortunate enough to have needed to apply for welfare.

The Department of Human Services began issuing Departure Prohibition Orders (DPOs) in June to prevent former welfare recipients from leaving the country if they have an outstanding debt that they have been unable, or unwilling, to repay.

More than 20 DPOs have already been issued and the Department is now looking to escalate their use to help recover money owed.

In a blanket statement, the press release said: "These people are making no effort to repay their debts and the Government believes that if they can afford to go on an overseas holiday, they can afford to start repaying what they owe.

"We make no apologies for the tough action we are taking, as many of those who are in our sights have known about these debts for years – in some cases for up to a decade.

"Others accrued their debts as a result of deliberate acts of fraud and have gone out of their way to evade attempts by my Department to sign them up to repayment plans, repeatedly ignoring our calls, letters and emails.

"The message we are sending to them is that you cannot ignore us forever. If you received a payment you were not entitled to, you have an obligation to repay the money you owe and we will use every tool at our disposal to ensure it is recovered on behalf of Australian taxpayers." 

So if a relative offers a sick or stressed "debt dodger" a holiday treat then the recipient may be banned from leaving the country.

Many welfare payments were, of course, made in error by Government departments with no intention of fraud on behalf of those receiving the money. Either way, beware. Big brother is watching you.

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