On 1 February 2013, 31 year old Queensland man applied for an Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments (AGDRP) in relation to the 2013 Queensland Flood Event which was declared a disaster by the Attorney-General on 21 January 2013.
Fuller claimed that on 29 January 2013 he was stranded in a residence in Eidsvold for 24 hours as a result of the Queensland floods at that time. The claim was successfully submitted for him and two dependents and on 12 February 2013 he received a one-off, tax free payment of $1,800 into his nominated bank account.
The claim was made online using Centrelink’s online self-service system.
It was subsequently discovered the area/home stated on his claim was not affected by the 2013 Queensland floods and that the defendant had not been stranded in any residence for 24 hours as claimed.
Following a plea of guilty, Fuller was sentenced to six months imprisonment, to be released forthwith on a recognisance to be of good behaviour for 2 years, in the amount of $1,500. Fuller was also ordered to pay reparations of $1,156.22 and court costs of $86.80.
Disaster relief payments
Disaster relief payments are payable to Australian residents aged 16 years or over who are adversely affected by a designated natural or non-natural disaster, whether within Australia or off-shore. The assistance is made up of a $1000 payment to the claimant and an additional $400 for each dependent child for whom the eligible adult is the primary carer. The payment is exempt from all Australian Government means testing arrangements and is non-taxable.
The AGRDP is payable only after the Australian Government Attorney-General has declared that the disaster is a ‘major disaster’ for the purposes of the Act.
Jamie Fuller was convicted and sentenced on 11 February 2015 in relation to:
- one count of obtaining financial advantage from a Commonwealth entity contrary to section 135.2(1) Criminal Code (Cth).
The maximum penalty for this offence is twelve months imprisonment and/or $10,200 fine.