Public sector fraud involves dishonestly obtaining a benefit or causing a loss by deception or other means. It can be perpetrated by public servants, by members of the public or by corporations. It can lead to loss of revenue, damage to morale and long-lasting erosion of trust in government services. The Australian Government is committed to reducing the impact of fraud against Commonwealth entities. The Australian Institute of Criminology has been conducting a Commonwealth Fraud Census since 2006, following on from the data collection established by the Attorney-General’s Department in 1995.
This Statistical Report presents the findings of the most recent annual census of fraud against Commonwealth entities and the measures taken to prevent fraud. It highlights the substantial cost of fraud to the Commonwealth, from both internal and external sources targeting Commonwealth monies or resources. The Appendix to this report provides detailed statistical data, and a separate Statistical Report presents the most harmful frauds reported in 2018 and 2019. New data are presented in each of the three reports for the years 2017–18 to 2018–19, and 2016–17 data are included by way of comparison.