labor - 2ST

Labor's plan to tackle scammers

stephen jones profile shot

Member for Whitlam Stephen Jones says the Government must to do more to protect people from being scammed.

The issue is costing Australians $33 billion dollars a year and Labor is promising to set up an anti scam centre that acts in real time and which also hold banks, telecommunication companies and social media platforms to account.

Mr. Jones said older people are particularly at risk.

"I know the Southern Highlands has been a hot spot for scammers and they generally like to attack more vulnerable communities and people they think have got a bit of money,

"What we know is that someone who has been scammed once, will very likely get scammed again,"Mr. Jones said.

Image: Office of Stephen Jones

St Georges Basin meeting told of Labor's plans to stop scams

stephen_jones_fiona_phillips.jpg

Australians lost about $33 billion dollars in scams during the past year.

That's more than the Federal Government spend on Medicare, according to Shadow Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones.

He joined Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips to address a forum at the St Georges Basin Country Club on Friday to speak about how scams are increasing in number and sophistication.

And Mr Jones said no-one was immune.

"Over the course of the past couple of weeks I've spoken to a very senior, very experienced head of a bank who fell for one of these," he said.

"I've spoken to a very senior, very experienced person who runs one of Australia's very significant superannuation organisations, I have spoken to a range of people in all different walks of life who have fallen for these things or become victims of these scams.

"They thought they were interacting with a legitimate website and found out is wasn't, or thought they were dealing with their bank and they weren't."

He described it as "a tsunami of scams," ranging from small-scale puppy scams or second hand car scams through to large scale investment scams or identity theft.

And he was concerned the scammers were often targeting people with limited English, people who were busy and had little time to double check things, and the elderly.

"When I talk to young people, or people our age, they'll often say 'The thing that I'm most worried about is my mum or my dad or my aunt falling for one of these things - hitting a link, providing their banking details, or being unaware of the risks involved," Mr Jones said.

Better protections were needed, he said, and the ALP was looking  at what it could do.

"We propose the establishment of a national anti-scam centre set up in the Federal Government, bringing together the resources of the Federal Police, the financial regulators, but crucially the banks and telecommunications companies as well, and we want to ensure we can stop the scams at their source," Mr Jonmes said.

"We also need to do more to protect the people who have become victims."

Image: Glenn Ellard

System crashes and anti-vaxxers at Nowra pre-poll

candidates.jpg

The anti-vaccination crowd that hijacked Saturday's meet the ward one candidates meeting in Bomaderry also gate crashed the pre-poll voting at Nowra's Wesley Centre on Monday morning.

Cr John Wells was there at the time and said they pushed the anti-vaccination message.

"There was another party here, and that was Cr Digiglio's group, whatever their name is, and I understand that they were handing out some anti-vax brochures of some description that apparently was reported at the time, so I don't know where that's going to go," he said.

The group's decision to hand out brochures flew in the face of COVID regulations that prevented candidates handing out how to vote information to people approaching the polling station.

Several candidates feared the lack of how to vote cards might cause an increase in informal votes - particularly in the wards were people had the option of voting either above or below the line.

"I think there will be a few more informal votes because people don't have that default piece of paper in their hands when they're actually standing in a booth, and some people may misunderstand it - instead of just pitting one above the line they might go and also number below the line," said candidate Serena Copley.

Mayoral candidate Paul Green had similar concerns.

"People are coming up to me and saying, 'Paul Green, where's your how to vote?' and of course we don't have one and that's really harder for the older generation that have had generations of get my how to vote, work it out,  and go and vote," he said.

"So it's been really, I think, difficult for the older generation."

However Greens candidates had laminated how to vote information and invited people to photograph information to take into the polling station.

"The way we're doing things now is a good example of how we're going to do things in the future - no paper, able to just take a photo and go in from there," said candidate Bradley Stanton.

"I think this is a great idea and something that should go past COVID."

There was additional turmoil hitting the first day of pre-poll voting due to the Elections NSW computer systems crashing.

People wanting to check candidate details ahead of attending a pre-polling place to cast a vote were left facing a screen saying the site was undergoing maintenance, while there were also delays for people casting votes.

Pre-poll voting continues until December 3.

Image: Glenn Ellard