Centrelink Prosecution Information

Warning: The following is general advice only. It should not be substituted for legal advice. The following information is drawn from resources including Legal Aid Commission and Welfare Rights.

Centrelink Investigation
If Centrelink thinks your debt arose because you intentionally told it something that was not true or intentionally withheld information, it may investigate your case further. Centrelink has wide powers to obtain information. It can obtain information from other people or organisations such as your employer and your bank. However, Centrelink cannot obtain information about you from your solicitor.

Centrelink prosecution interview
Centrelink may ask you to attend a prosecution interview. The purpose of this interview is to ask you questions which might prove that you committed an offence. The appointment letter should say if an interview is a prosecution interview. You can also tell is an interview is a prosecution interview because it will be taped. You should be given a caution or warning that the information will be used to prove offences against you in court.

Before deciding to attend a prosecution interview always obtain legal advice. In most cases it will not be in your interest to attend the interview.

You cannot be penalised for not attending a prosecution interview. You can simply ring and advise that you do not wish to attend.

Do I have to repay the debt if I am prosecuted?
Yes, even if the court does not make a reparation order, you will have to repay a debt unless the court says that it imposed a prison sentence or a longer sentence because you were unable or unwilling to repay the debt.

Appealing Centrelink decisions
Separate to the prosecution process, you have the right to appeal Centrelink decisions about debts, including the amount of repayments.

What will a solicitor do?
A solicitor will help you by examining the information that Centrelink has gathered against you and advising you on how best to proceed. They can represent you in court whether you intend to plead guilty or not guilty.

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