Anyone owing money to the Government may find themselves grounded, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a policy to ban travel for tax debtors and welfare cheats.
The PM hopes the new policy will help the government pull in $800 million in debt.
Travel bans already apply to parents who don’t make child support payments, and now will be used against welfare recipients who wrongly received payments, owe the Government money, and tax debt dodgers.
The new policy will effectively prevent Australians who owe the Australian Tax Office or other government agencies money, unless they commit to a payment plan.
Human Services Minister Michael Keenan insists that the program will not be targeting anyone who is currently receiving welfare payments, but rather the 150,000 who no longer do but owe the government money.
“If you received a payment you were not entitled to, you have an obligation to repay the money you owe and we will use every tool at our disposal to ensure it is recovered,” said Mr Keenan.
Mr Morrison believes Australians will support this hardline stance on welfare cheats.
“If you’ve got longstanding tax debts and you’ve been warned and warned and warned and warned and warned, and you’re thumbing your nose at everyone else paying tax and you’re saying, ‘Tough for you. I’m going to get on a plane’, well, you’re actually insulting your fellow Australians who pay for the welfare system,” Mr Morrison told The Saturday Daily Telegraph.
However, there may be cause to wonder whether the program could unjustly treat some former welfare recipients who, due to Centrelink’s robo-debt failure, could be banned from travelling overseas because of ‘non-human errors’.
Would you worry about being grounded by this policy? Do you support Mr Morrison’s stance on welfare cheats and tax dodgers?