Victoria Treasurer Kim Wells
First Home Grant Fraudsters To Face Jail
Victor P Taffa
The Victorian Coalition Government will introduce tough new penalties including a maximum 12 month jail term for individuals who submit fraudulent First Home Owner Grant applications.
Treasurer Kim Wells said the Coalition Government was committed to stamping out fraudulent claims for the grants which assist first home buyers to enter Victoria’s competitive property market.
“Anyone making a false claim is not only ripping off the program, they are ripping off all decent Victorian taxpayers.” Mr. Wells said.
“We are taking a tough stance on those who attempt to rort the system.”
“Those who make blatant and fraudulent claims for the First Home Owner Grant will soon face not only a hefty fine of more than $14,000 but possible jail time.” Mr. Wells said.
“Over the past three years first home buyer grant fraud has skyrocketed but the penalties for the grant have not been reviewed in 10 years.”
“The Coalition Government has introduced legislation to bring the penalties into line with community expectations and deter anyone considering defrauding the system.” Mr. Wells said.
Over the past three years the State Revenue Office (SRO) has reclaimed grants and imposed civil penalties on over 1,100 applicants for having failed to meet one or more of the eligibility criteria and rejected over 800 applications for false claims.
The majority of these cases involved applicants using false names or making false claims about their marital status.
The SRO has also successfully prosecuted 19 offenders and is in the process of prosecuting 12 more, with many other matters under consideration.
The new penalties will be increased from a maximum of 60 penalty units ($7,167) to maximum 120 penalty units ($14,334) and include the introduction of a 12 month maximum jail term.
Eligible first home buyers are entitled to a $7,000 grant on an established home, valued up to $750 000. Eligible first home buyers of a new home up to a value of $600 000 are entitled to a bonus of $13,000 in metropolitan Melbourne, with an additional regional new home bonus of $6,500.