29 May 2009

Cash for 'grateful dead' in Australia

7:36 am on 29 May 2009

The Australian government has admitted that cash hand-outs aimed at stimulating the economy have been sent to thousands of people who are dead.

The BBC reports the money was part of a package under which every tax-payer was entitled to a payment of up to $A900.

Ministers said about $A14 million went to dead people and $A25 million to Australians living overseas.

Australian media have dubbed the deceased recipients "the grateful dead".

Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner said that the money would still help Australia's economy.

"Even where they go to people who are dead, of course they go to the estate," he said.

"The estate typically is going to consist of ordinary Australians who will in turn get the payments, and on balance over time, will spend those payments."

However, he acknowledged that a "tiny proportion" of the money might be spend overseas, by expatriates.

But another minister said more than 99% of the money had gone to the right people.

The ABC reports members of the opposition were not appeased.