Back to Work scheme rorted $1.39m
A PALASZCZUK Government grants program that pays companies to hire unemployed jobseekers has proven a hit - with fraudsters.
Fake and dodgy business owners have scammed taxpayers $1.39 million in employment grants over the past two years with the Palaszczuk Government clawing back just $3000.
And fraudsters have been denied another $4.9 million after being caught out with dicey paperwork, with bureaucrats forced to tighten processes as recently as last month to deal with dodgy claims.
Eighty applicants who've been paid out have been referred to police after taking advantage of the Back to Work program which pays employers up to $20,000 for taking on unemployed jobseekers.
It's understood the vast majority have involved fraudsters posing as a legitimate business and applying for payments, although one third have involved legitimate business owners applying for funds they're not entitled to.
Of cases referred to police, one has been successfully prosecuted.
A woman was ordered in May to serve five years jail for defrauding the Back to Work program and multiple employers and others by redirecting $13,000 of payments meant for her employer to her own bank account.
Opposition Employment spokeswoman Fiona Simpson said the cost of the scams was alarming and it was likely many other cases had gone undetected.
"Labor's Back to Work scheme is creating lots of work opportunities - for fraudsters," she said.
"I'm concerned that many of the 'jobs' created through Back to Work disappear as soon as Labor sends out the cheque.
"Labor's plan is meant to help the unemployed, not unscrupulous employers.
She said Labor must urgently fix the flaws in its program.
Meanwhile, it's been revealed 6,703 Back to Work payments of between $3,000 and $4,500 were made to employers whose recruits quit or were laid off before 26 weeks.
Employment Minister Shannon Fentiman said some recruits chose to move on to new opportunities and the majority of Queensland employers acted honestly.
"Our Back to Work compliance team do a great job alerting the police to potential fraud," she said.
"The clear message to people looking to abuse our program is that they will be caught and prosecuted."