Source: Premier of Victoria
The Andrews Labor Government has today accepted the report by the Ombudsman into the Fairness Fund.
The Ombudsman report found no evidence of the Victorian Liberals claims that there was any political interference into the assessment of Fairness Fund applications.
The Ombudsman’s report acknowledged that the Government was warned that some applicants were attempting to submit fraudulent applications. The Government put in place best practice fraud prevention measures which did delay the processing of some applications but was necessary to ensure taxpayers money was used appropriately.
More than half of the 1247 original applications were not eligible for assessment.
Instead of immediately rejecting these applications, the Government chose to ask the Department to work to ensure all applicants had every opportunity to submit an eligible application.
The report today confirms that without this approach people in financial hardship and deserving of assistance would have missed out.
The Ombudsman only examined the Fairness Fund and her report did not consider the additional $330 million of financial assistance that was provided ahead of schedule in October last year before the reforms came into effect.
The Andrews Labor Government has provided around $400 million to former Taxi and Hire Car Licence holders, the most generous in Australia, funded by a $1 per trip levy which commences in July. The report did not recommend that this financial assistance be increased.