You will recall my story a few weeks ago (12 May, item 14) about
the Howard Government’s penchant for chasing small time welfare fraud at the
expense of netting the big whales in the tax fraud pond.

In yesterday’s Daily
human services spokesman Kelvin Thomson said that a report he commissioned
reveals every dollar spent on catching tax cheats brings in $7.53 while
the government will recover just $1.94 per dollar spent on welfare

On top of this latest report and the figures I
provided readers on the cost of fraud to the government that the AFP had
investigated, or had referred for investigation, that’s 376 cases from the ATO totalling
$42 million in the cost of fraud.

Conversely, Centrelink had 26,118 cases for a lower
reported cost of fraud $41 million. You don’t have to be a mathematician to work out
where the money is.

On these figures, Tax Commissioner Michael
D’Ascenzo should be hitting Peter Costello for more resources. And why hasn’t
Costello said anything about this huge disparity between Centrelink and ATO
resourcing? Perhaps he still has his eye off the ball.