Wednesday, 26 April 2017
Seven week amnesty period begins today
SOCIAL housing tenants across the region have a golden opportunity to admit fraudulent behaviour, as a punishment-free amnesty period begins today.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said there would be a seven week grace period, allowing tenants with undisclosed income, financial assets, property or unauthorised occupants without fear of prosecution.
Mr Marshall said the amnesty, run by the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), ensured the system was fairer for all.
“Public housing is a necessity as a safety net – but unfortunately, some people see fit to exploit the system for their own benefit,” Mr Marshall said.
“Through this amnesty period, tenants will be able to disclose any ‘creative accounting’ and return to the correct rent without the fear of having to fork out retrospective payments.
“Previous amnesty rounds in 2013 and 2014 have brought back more than $10 million of revenue, which helps provide more social housing for those who truly need it.”
During this period FACS is also encouraging people to provide information on those who may be rorting the system for further investigation. If a breach is found, tenants will have one chance to confirm the allegations are true to proceed without penalty.
Mr Marshall said rent would be adjusted within a few hours of the declaration – a small price to pay compared to the standard adjustment process.
“I encourage all social housing tenants to take this opportunity to declare or report a change in circumstances to FACS without fear of prosecution or being charged back rent,” Mr Marshall said. “After this period, hard penalties will apply.”
The amnesty will run until 11 June 2017. During the amnesty period tenants and members of the public can provide declarations or information 24 hours, 7 days a week by filling out our form online at www.facs.nsw.gov.au/amnesty contacting 1800 422 322 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org