Fraudulent Claims in Queensland Health’s Emergency Payments

Queensland Health (QH) set up an emergency payment scheme earlier this year, when a payroll system riddled with errors left hundreds of employees severely underpaid.

In spite of the good intentions, however, the scheme has resulted in around 20 cases of fraudulent claims. Two workers have already been charged with falsely claiming payments that they had already received.

QH has announced plans to cross-check the emergency payments that have been given to staff that have been affected by the ongoing payroll problems. In fact, changes are already being made for the next pay cycle.

QH’s Deputy Director-General, Michael Walsh, said: “What we are implementing is to ensure that prior to providing the cash payment there is a check made with payroll in order to look at the history of a person’s pay to identify it is their general pay that they receive on a fortnightly basis”.

Opposition has taken this as an opportunity to point out weaknesses in the Government’s handling of the situation. Mark McArdle, Opposition spokesman for health, criticised that the situation should not have happened at all. Despite the fact that there should have been some kind of safety catch to ensure monies were paid correctly, he argues that the Government is nevertheless to blame.

“People are owed tens of thousands of dollars and again the Government is ultimately liable for what has taken place in this State.”