Buyers cheat first-home grant

At least 48 people have been forced to repay the Federal Government's $7,000 first home buyers' grant, for a total of $350,000, after widespread rorting of the scheme was uncovered. Several hundred more people are being investigated for failing to comply with one of the conditions of the grant: that the buyer lives in the nominated property.

Figures from the New South Wales Office of State Revenue also show that some construction companies have been illegally backdating their completion dates before the additional $3,000 new-home sum was reduced at the end of last week.
The scheme has already been heavily criticised for its susceptibility to rorting and for providing millions of dollars to wealthy property purchasers.

Among some of the rorts uncovered were claims for the grant by people who have already owned property; people not living in the houses bought with the grant; buying properties in the names of spouses and children or in maiden names; falsifying documents to obtain the grant. The New South Wales Treasurer, Michael Egan, is believed to be looking at the development of software to detect false claims for the grant.

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