Page last updated at 07:02 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 08:02 UK

Cash for Aussie 'grateful dead'

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (file image)
PM Kevin Rudd's stimulus package aims to give cash to all tax-payers

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 money was part of a multi-billion dollar package under which every taxpayer was entitled to a payment of up to A$900 ($700, £440).

About A$14m of the money went to dead people, ministers said, and A$25m to Australians living overseas.

Local 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 told local media.

"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."

He did acknowledge that a "tiny proportion" of the money might be spent overseas, by expatriates.

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

Members of the opposition were not appeased.

"If anybody saw any of the dead out there spending up big at Harvey Norman or Coles or Woolworths, please let me know," ABC news quoted Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham as saying.

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