Now it’s official.
Some 445 “companies” have succeeded in ripping off the government – that is, taxpayers – to the tune of nearly $14 million.
Simply by shutting down while still owing debts to the government under the GFC “stimulus” pink batts home insulation scheme:
THE Government has written off nearly $14 million owed by companies believed to have wrongly claimed subsidies under the failed home insulation program, a senate estimates hearing has heard.
And it has decided to reverse $10.2 million in “potential debt”, deciding it may have been owed the money but it would have difficulty proving and collecting it.
The botched scheme was plagued by dodgey practices and was linked to the deaths of four installers and 224 house fires.
Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Department deputy secretary Subho Banerjee told the hearing that 671 debts from 516 installers totalling $6.69 million was still owed to it, but even that might not be recovered.
“The experience in these debt recovery operations across the Commonwealth is that the expected recovery rates are generally very low,” Dr Banerjee said.
“That’s our advice in this case as well.”
He said $1.89 million had been recovered.
But the hearing heard $13.77 million of debts were written off – seven because companies were declared bankrupt, one because of death, 445 because the companies ceased operating and 35 deemed “uneconomical to pursue”.
Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham asked what lengths the Government had gone to to chase down those 445 cases.
“Or was it just the case that people managed to set up companies, fleece the taxpayer of $13.7 million and then close down their companies and get away with it?” he said.
Remember this, should you ever have the tax man breathing down your neck for a miserable few hundred or thousand bucks.