Labor's global financial crisis cheques sent to backpackers

A STAGGERING $40 million worth of 'stimulus' cheques remain uncollected while 6000 people - including backpackers - have been sent GFC cheques this year.

News Corp reported on Monday that more than $5 million worth of stimulus payments have gone out this year - years after the global financial crisis hit.

A farmer blew the whistle after a backpacker who had been on a working holiday visas was sent a cheque even though he had already returned home.

The Opposition seized on the revelations.

"Labor's economic management has gone from tragedy to farce,'' Jamie Briggs, the chairman of the Scrutiny of Government Waste Committee, said.

"We've had the 'pink batts' tragedy, we've had the overpriced school halls - some of which were still being built as at June this year - and we now have $900 'stimulus' cheques being sent out five years after the height of the global financial crisis. 

"The government claims the payments are legitimate and yet close to $40 million worth of 'stimulus' cheques remain uncashed while we face a budget deficit of $30 billion.

"This is a policy failure of the highest order and Kevin Rudd should apologise to the people of Australia for wasting their money.

"Labor has no regard for the value of taxpayers' money, leaving a massive debt for our children to pay. 

Treasurer Chris Bowen defended the late payments, which were based on data provided to the Tax Office for the 2007/08 financial year.

"Stimulus kept Australia out of recession during the GFC and saved up to 210,000 jobs when millions were lost in Europe and the United States," the Treasurer's spokesman told News.

"The Government put in place clear eligibility criteria set out for all to see in legislation. If someone was eligible, the ATO appropriately administers the law and ensures eligible people receive their entitlements."

Around $8 billion was paid in one-off cash payments.

According to an ATO spokeswoman, around 47,000 stimulus cheques have been "distributed but not yet cashed".



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