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New financial crime guide warns the finance sector and Australians about ‘cuckoo smurfing’

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cuckoo smurfing

New financial crime guide warns the finance sector and Australians about ‘cuckoo smurfing’

AUSTRAC has released a new financial crime guide to warn businesses and their customers about the dangers of a money laundering method known as ‘cuckoo smurfing’.

Criminals use the ‘cuckoo smurfing’ method to move illegal funds into Australia and to disguise the profits of their criminal activities. It generally relies on exploiting the legitimate bank accounts of individuals and businesses here in Australia. The Australian account holder will commonly be expecting genuine funds to be deposited into their account from a friend, relative or business partner overseas.

Often these recipients are unaware that the funds transferred into their accounts have in fact come from criminals using funds generated from drug dealing and other serious criminal activities. The ‘cuckoo smurfing’ financial crime guide helps businesses know what to look for and when to report to AUSTRAC. At the same time new educational materials developed by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in collaboration with AUSTRAC are also available for the public on how to spot and protect themselves from cuckoo smurfing.

AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose PSM, said if businesses identify behaviour that indicates potential cuckoo smurfing, they must report it to AUSTRAC so together we can disrupt criminal syndicates targeting the bank accounts of Australians. “This method has been used by criminal syndicates involved in crimes that inflict serious harm on our community such as drug trafficking, slavery, fraud and corruption. We rely on financial businesses to report to AUSTRAC and partner with enforcement to stop these criminal syndicates and protect members of the Australian community.”

Money transfer businesses, banks and financial institutions should monitor for indicators of potential criminal activity including cash deposits appearing inconsistent with expected transaction activity of an account holder, cash deposits conducted on the same day across multiple branches and ATMs and multiple cash deposits predominately in amounts under $10,000. Members of the Australian public expecting to receive funds from overseas, should review their bank account activity and report any unexpected and suspicious transactions. Any individual or company can be targeted, some of the most at risk customers include Australian expatriates, Australian exporters and international students studying in Australia.

If members of the public notice any suspicious activity occurring in their bank account, including the warning signs above, they should immediately report it to their bank in the first instance, or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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NSW Premier refuses to meet collectively with mayors of 12 COVID-hit communities

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QR codes, masks and tests please

NSW Premier refuses to meet collectively with mayors of 12 COVID-hit communities

The NSW Premier has refused to meet collectively with mayors in the 12 local government areas (LGAs) hardest hit by COVID-19 to discuss the devastating impacts of the State’s health orders on their communities.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott asked Premier Gladys Berejiklian on August 16 to meet with LGNSW and the affected community leaders, as well as the Minister for Health and the Police Commissioner, but this week the Premier declined to take the meeting.

“The Premier says she wants to hear the voices of local communities and is willing to meet with community leaders but has rejected this opportunity to meet collectively with the 12 mayors working night and day through the impacts of the current outbreak,” Cr Scott said.

“I’m surprised the Premier would reject such a golden opportunity to build consensus in facing down this very real threat to the well-being of our most vulnerable communities. These leaders are willing to set aside the time, but the Premier seems unwilling.

“The Premier’s rejection of our request actually breaches the commitment made in the Intergovernmental Agreement, which the Premier signed on behalf of State Government and I signed on behalf of local government in October 2019.

“In this agreement, the Premier promised to consult with LGNSW and our sector before any significant policy decisions were made and to work with us to achieve positive outcomes for our communities. But on this occasion it has not happened.”

Cr Scott rejected suggestions her public disappointment with the Premier’s response was politically motivated.

“The 12 affected local government areas have mayors and councillors of every political stripe, including Liberal, Labor and Independents,” she said.

“This is a bipartisan attempt to work better together for NSW communities that need our support. There’s never been a more crucial time for all elected leaders to put aside any political differences and work together.”

Cr Scott said LGNSW would continue to push for the collective meeting on behalf of the mayors in affected communities.

“I am continuing to call on the Premier to honour her Government’s commitment to work with us as equals and meet these 12 mayors and councillors who are working so hard to support our communities and are feeling ignored,” she said.

“Mayors and councillors are continuing to provide effective and meaningful leadership to support our communities through droughts, floods, bushfires and COVID. They are on the frontlines of this battle, getting calls from anxious community members on a daily basis.

“The NSW Government should be working with us to lead our communities out of these dark times rather than ignoring something as simple and potentially beneficial as a collective, sit-down online discussion.

“I hope the Premier reconsiders and accepts our offer soon.”

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NSW LABOR CALLS ON THE GOVERNMENT TO PRIORITISE SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT

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Ballina News-Lismore news-Grafton News-Byron Bay News-Tweed Shire News-Casino News-Richmond Valley News-Byron Shire News-Clarence Valley News

NSW LABOR CALLS ON THE GOVERNMENT TO PRIORITISE SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT

NSW Labor is calling on the Government to prioritise the coordination of financial support for small businesses impacted by the Greater Sydney lockdown with reports that over half of the 130,000 businesses who have applied, yet to receive a single cent.

The NSW Government has repeatedly assured businesses that they would be supported through this crisis with payments for businesses suffering a downturn of 30 per cent or more. Despite these promises many small businesses have been left waiting as the Government has been unable to manage the demand for support.

NSW Labor leader Chris Minns said so many small businesses have made massive sacrifices to keep our community safe, but many are hanging on a knife’s edge with huge losses of income and reduced cash flow.

“We are six weeks into lockdown and many small businesses are yet to receive the financial support that was promised to them. It’s unacceptable. Small businesses are the lifeblood of the NSW economy with support lagging, there will be many businesses who will find it difficult to recover,” Mr Minns said.

“These are real people trying to keep their businesses afloat. Every day that support is delayed is a day closer to more businesses being unable to recover once this lockdown ends – people’s livelihoods are at stake.

Shadow Minister for Small Business Steve Kamper said, “We really are asking a lot of small businesses to keep the community safe. The least we can do is ensure the proper financial support is available and flowing fast.

“Support is needed now – there is too much at stake, for individuals, families, communities and the state’s economy,” Mr Kamper said.

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Business News

BYRON BUSINESSES RALLY BEHIND LOCAL BUYING CAMPAIGN AS TOURIST TRADE SLUMPS

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BYRON BUSINESSES RALLY BEHIND LOCAL BUYING CAMPAIGN AS TOURIST TRADE SLUMPS
BYRON BUSINESSES RALLY BEHIND LOCAL BUYING CAMPAIGN AS TOURIST TRADE SLUMPS

BYRON BUSINESSES RALLY BEHIND LOCAL BUYING CAMPAIGN AS TOURIST TRADE SLUMPS

By Margaret Dekker

A group of Byron Bay traders met last Friday to discuss a slump in trade in the iconic tourist town due to plummeting tourist numbers and foot traffic.

Katie Munro from clothing label Arnhem told The Northern Rivers Times talk is rife among traders about concerns over in-store sales falling across an array of businesses in the community.  In her conversations with other local businesses there are reports of revenue dropping by as much as 60 percent.

“People were buying last year, but with fear and the ongoing uncertainty about the virus, this year buying habits have shifted to what is essential,” Katie Munro said.

“And there’s no one in town,” she said.

The irony of the situation, Katie says, is while Byron Shire property prices are booming and millions of dollars are being injected into real estate, the big spending is not being replicated in local tills.

And despite mounting requests from shop tenants, commercial landlords are firmly refusing rent relief on Byron Bay shopfronts which can average around $2,000 a week on the premium strips.

In a united effort to stem the engulfing tide, Byron Bay retailers and restaurateurs have begun a new ‘Love for Locals’ campaign, rewarding shoppers from the Shire with experiences and store discounts, and special offers and deals between traders.  ‘Love for Locals’ is being pitched at old and new ‘Byronians’ in an effort to “get the town going again.”

“.. Conversations have started around buying local, not giving our dollar to big multinational companies .. We can make an impact if we stop and consider every little spending decision we make,” Katie Munro said.

With news late last week of virus fragments detected in Byron Bay wastewater, and a new alert over a COVID-19 positive person landing in Ballina from Sydney on July 14, the mood has shifted again with Byron Bay last weekend likened to ‘a Ghost Town.’

But Katie Munro says there is also energy and optimism stirring as traders collaborate with other local businesses and begin embedding new behaviours with a focus on supporting local; to move from ‘struggling’ to surviving and thriving ‘during these strange times.’

“Conversations have started. There’s a movement, momentum among local traders, we can get through this again.” Katie Munro said.

 

 

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