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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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Business News

SUPPORT PACKAGE A GAME CHANGER FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY

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SUPPORT PACKAGE A GAME CHANGER FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY

SUPPORT PACKAGE A GAME CHANGER FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY

A $500 million support package to revive the events and tourism industry across NSW will be a game changer that will turbo charge a post COVID economic recovery, according to the state’s peak business organisation, Business NSW.

Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced the package, which includes each adult being provided a $50 voucher to spend on accommodation anywhere in the State.

Business NSW has been telling Government since the start of the pandemic that different industries were being impacted in different ways, but the tourism, hospitality and events sector has been the hardest hit,” said Business NSW Regional Manager Jane Laverty

“What is particularly pleasing is this is not a Sydney centric package but recognises that all of NSW has a part to play in the economic recovery through regional events and tourism, with support for satellite CBD’s a cornerstone of this funding,” Jane Laverty said.

“Business will be delighted with the Event Saver Fund which allows for immediate financial support for organisers of events that are disrupted or cancelled due to a Public Health Order this summer. This will allow confidence in investment and employment without a fear of being left footing a huge bill.

“The exciting part about this support package is that it will actually encourage more business investment and drive a collaborative partnership between business and Government in securing events and once again making NSW the number one destination in the Asia Pacific region for both business and travel.

“What is crucial is the targeted approach the Government takes from here in deciding where the money is spent – this needs to be on a needs-based approach to ensure maximum return on investment.

“A united approach using insight from stakeholders on the ground will be crucial to ensuring this package delivers for all of NSW.

“Business NSW looks forward to working with the State Government in coming weeks on measures and support that will drive regional recovery,” Mrs Laverty said.

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Business News

NEW HARDSHIP PANEL TO PROVIDE MORE BUSINESSES WITH COVID-19 FINANCIAL SUPPORT

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Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope

NEW HARDSHIP PANEL TO PROVIDE MORE BUSINESSES WITH COVID-19 FINANCIAL SUPPORT

A new Hardship Review Panel has been established to consider financial support for businesses experiencing financial hardship that do not qualify for COVID-19 business support measures.

The panel will assess on a case-by-case basis businesses which did not meet the eligibility requirements for the 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant, Micro-business Grant and JobSaver payments.

Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said the Review Panel would help those businesses experiencing genuine financial hardship that were previously ineligible for support payments and grants.
“COVID-19 has affected so many businesses in NSW and even though we have a number of support measures in place, there are still some businesses under severe financial strain that aren’t eligible for assistance for a number of reasons. We want to plug that gap as much as we can,” Mr Tudehope said.

The Review Panel will include representatives from Revenue NSW, NSW Treasury and Service NSW and will make recommendations on businesses’ eligibility for relevant support payments and grants.
It will consider a broad range of factors in determining whether a business has experienced financial hardship, with the Chief Commissioner of Revenue NSW to be ultimately responsible and make the final determination for applications.

“My message to small businesses is this – no matter what corner of the state you’re in, we will be there with you all the way as we navigate this global health pandemic,” Mr Tudehope said.

Factors that the hardship panel will consider include, for example, whether the business is an employer, in a highly impacted industry, in an LGA of concern or has unavoidable costs for which no other support is available.

Businesses will be back paid to the fortnight where they can demonstrate the required decline in turnover with the Panel. Hardship applications for JobSaver are now open with hardship COVID business grants and Micro-business grants to open later this month. See more here: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/covid-19-help-businesses/covid-19-business-support-hardship-review.

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Business News

ROADMAP GIVES CERTAINTY TO BUSINESS

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REOPENING NSW page 1

ROADMAP GIVES CERTAINTY TO BUSINESS

The state’s peak business organisation, Business NSW says confirmation of the three phases of reopening for NSW is a positive step that will provide much needed certainty to business.
The Government has announced rules which will determine what can and can’t happen as the population reaches 70 and 80% double vaccination rates, as well as when liberties apply to all residents, irrespective of vaccination status.
“It’s been an uncertain time for many businesses with lots of confusion about which businesses will be able to open and under what rules,” said Business NSW Regional Manager Jane Laverty.
“The release of the Public Health Orders in coming days will reconfirm that the onus will be on individuals to do the right thing and abide by the rules,” Mrs Laverty said.
“Business owners can’t be expected to also act as security guards, so long as they have a COVIDSafe plan and appropriate registration in place at their entry, they can get on with the business of being in business.
“The Premier has confirmed that 11 October is the day we will likely reopen at 70% double vaccination rate, which we are calling #backtobusiness day, because it will be a real celebration of being able to visit our favourite businesses again and to celebrate what we’ve missed over the past few months.
“A number of greater freedoms will come into place at the 80% double vaccination rate, which on current trends could be as soon as 25 October.
“Businesses will be able to operate under a one person per four square metre rule, with certain caps in place on numbers, depending on the type of industry and whether customers are gathering inside our outdoors.
“It won’t be until 1 December that vaccination status is not a factor – meaning businesses will be able to operate under a one person per 2 square metre rule, as opposed to one person per 4 square metres up until then.
“This is an important step for the business recovery in NSW, as the state looks to bounce back as quickly as possible from the ravages of the pandemic,” Mrs Laverty said.

To see the REOPENING NSW click here to open the PDF

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