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Nearly a million Australians rush to file their tax returns and claim tax offset of up to $2160


Nearly a million Australians have rushed to file their tax returns early and claim a tax offset worth up to $1,080 for singles and $2,160 for couples.

As thousands of workers are forced to rely on welfare and raid their super accounts as the economy is battered by a COVID-19 recession, new figures reveal they have also moved swiftly to claim tax refunds that should start hitting bank accounts this week.

The cash splash is set to provide a much-needed boost to the economy with hopes that workers will spend the money and help support jobs as the economy reopens outside of Victoria.

Ten million Australians on low and middle incomes are set to secure a tax cut under the changes, but only when they file a return this year.

Nearly half of those workers – around 4.5 million Australians – will secure the maximum $1,080.

RELATED: How to get your tax refund faster

RELATED: More tax benefits for small business

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the early bird refunds will hit bank accounts over the course of this week.

“A record number of Australians have already lodged their tax return with refunds to land in bank accounts over the course of the week,” he said.

“As part of last year’s budget we increased the low and middle income tax offset to $1,080 for individuals and $2,160 for couples.

“It means people can keep more of what they earn providing a much-needed boost to the household budgets.

“Millions of Australians across the country are set to benefit again this tax time from the Government’s tax cuts,” he said.

Nearly 991,000 year-to-date 2020 individual lodgements have been received, an 11 per cent increase compared with the same time last year.

The tax cuts, worth $8 billion this year alone, include a change in the top threshold of the 32.5 cent tax rate and the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO) worth up to $1,080 for workers earning less than $126,000 a year.

But not all workers secure the maximum of LMITO amount. Workers with a taxable income of up to $37,000 only secure $255.

The maximum offset of $1,080 will apply to anyone earning between $48,000 and $90,000.

Workers earning over $90,000 but less than $126,000 start securing less from the offset until it gradually reduces to zero to ensure high income earners don’t secure the benefits.

The top five electorates to benefit from the LMITO include Wright in Queensland, Bob Katter’s electorate of Kennedy in Queensland, Stirling and Cowan in Western Australia and Tanya Plibersek’s electorate of Sydney in NSW.

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s electorate of Lalor in Victoria is also in the Top 10 as is Melbourne and Capricornia in Queensland.

Last week, Mr Frydenberg flagged the prospect of bringing forward legislated tax cuts to help stimulate the economy in the October budget.

Personal income tax cuts for middle income earners worth up to $2,565-a-year are likely to be brought forward to help boost spending.

Mr Frydenberg confirmed that the fast-tracking of the tax cuts was a live option in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are three stages to those legislated income tax cuts and, you know, the benefit was very clear. We’re creating one big tax bracket between $45,000 and $200,000 where people pay a marginal rate of no more than 30 cents in the dollar,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“So we are looking at that issue and the timing of those tax cuts because we want to boost aggregate demand, boost consumption, put more money into people’s pockets and that is one way to do it.”



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Australian News

Powerball Lotto $80 million: Hunt for mystery Victoria winner


Victorians have been urged to check their tickets after one resident took out Australia’s third biggest lottery jackpot of all time last night.

The mystery punter won a staggering $80 million in this week’s Powerball draw – but so far, nobody has come forward to claim the incredible prize.

The player held the only division one winning entry across Australia in Powerball draw 1260, but as the winning entry was not registered to a Tatts Card, lottery officials have no way of contacting them to share the news.

The lucky person shares the title of Australia’s third biggest lottery winner, and it is the second time an $80 million Powerball prize has been won this year, after a Port Macquarie man scored the same amount back in March.

Details of the region where the winning ticket was sold is expected to be revealed this morning if the player has not come forward.

RELATED: Read more lottery news here

The Lott spokeswoman Bronwyn Spencer said the enigmatic winner might be completely unaware they held the only division one winning entry in the Powerball draw.

“Someone in Victoria could be completely unaware that their life has changed forever, scoring the mouth-watering $80 million jackpot in tonight’s Powerball draw,” she said.

“We are encouraging all Victorian players to check their entries online, via the Lott website or app, or if you choose to visit a store, please practice social distancing. We can’t wait to unite this player with their prize.

“If you do realise you’re holding that multimillion-dollar ticket from tonight’s draw, please call us on 131 868 to begin the process of claiming your prize.”

The division one winner is the sixth Powerball division one winner across Australia so far this calendar year.

It comes hot on the heels of Tuesday’s record $50 million Oz Lotto win, which took almost two days to be claimed.

The unnamed winner was eventually revealed to be from North Sydney and she purchased her entry from Inlet Newsagency, Shop 5, 172 Jacobs Drive, Sussex Inlet.

She revealed it had been the first lottery ticket she ever bought – a case of “beginner’s luck” – which she picked up while on holidays in the picturesque coastal town.

She realised she was the mystery winner after eventually checking her entry online.

After confirming the win with lottery officials, the stunned woman declared that she would “definitely keep working” despite her newly bulging bank account.

The record for the largest single winning Powerball entry is $107 million which was won by a Sydney healthcare worker in January 2019.



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Business

Deutsche Bank hit with $US150 million fine over links to Jeffrey Epstein


New York found “significant compliance failures” in Deutsche Bank’s dealings with Epstein, who the bank had considered “high-risk”. It also knew of Epstein’s history of sex trafficking and abuse, including his 2007 guilty plea to state prostitution charges, yet ignored these “red flags” and processed hundreds of transactions “obviously implicated” by his past.

In its statement New York also criticised unrelated dealings by Germany’s largest bank with Danske Bank’s Estonia branch, which is embroiled in a massive money laundering scandal, and the Federal Bank of the Middle East.

Epstein was a Deutsche Bank client from August 2013 to December 2018, when the relationship ended after further negative press surfaced about his misconduct.

The transactions processed by the German bank included payments to alleged accomplices, lawyers, victims, Russian models and women with Eastern European surnames, and “suspicious” cash withdrawals averaging $US200,000 a year.

‘Not suspicious’

Email traffic showed that Deutsche Bank weighed the risks of retaining Epstein as a client but put them aside, enticed by the millions of dollars in annual revenue he might generate.

According to a consent order, two Deutsche Bank employees visited Epstein in his New York home in early 2015 and asked about new allegations of sex with underage girls.

But they appeared “satisfied” by Epstein’s response and did nothing to verify the allegations, the consent order said.

The bank also chose in 2017 not to scrutinise payments to a Russian model and a Russian publicity agent. “Since this type of activity is normal for this client it is not deemed suspicious,” a compliance monitor said in an email.

New York said Epstein had more than 40 Deutsche Bank accounts, some of which were for the “Butterfly Trust”, whose beneficiaries included co-conspirators in alleged sexual abuse.

This created a risk that payments could be used to “further or cover up criminal activity and perhaps even to endanger more young women,” the New York settlement, which reflected Deutsche Bank’s cooperation over several years, revealed.

Accepting Epstein as a client “was a critical mistake and should never have happened,” Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Christian Sewing told staff in a memo.

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The New York regulator said Deutsche Bank was also sanctioned for ignoring warning signs while processing billions of euros of payments for Danske Bank, which it ranked as “high-risk” in 2007, before shortly afterwards identifying alerts on its foreign customers with Russian or Latvian connections.

The German bank ignored internal warnings of the risks until late 2015, transferring at least $US150 billion from Russia and other former Soviet states during that time.

Deutsche Bank also acknowledged deficiencies in its monitoring of Danske Estonia and FBME.

“We all have to help ensure that this kind of thing does not happen again,” Sewing said.

❏ Support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636.

Reuters

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Patrick Mahomes signs 10-year contract with Kansas City Chiefs, reportedly worth as much as $US503 million


The Kansas City Chiefs have handed 24-year-old Super Bowl-winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes a contract extension reportedly worth between $US477 million and $US503 million.

Those numbers over 10 years are believed to be the biggest contract in the history of professional sport.

Mahomes still has two seasons left on his current contract — worth $2.8 million for the 2020 season slated to start in September, and $24.8 million for 2021 — which he signed as a rookie.

ESPN reported the new contract was worth at least $US450 million, but with the remaining money on his current deal, plus bonuses tied into the new one, the number could climb over $US500 million ($716 million).

That prompted Mahomes’s agency to label its client the “first half billion dollar player in sports history”.

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Mahomes was selected with the 10th pick in the 2017 NFL draft and since then has won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award his second season, then led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl win in 50 years, being named MVP of this year’s title game in the process.

“Since he joined the Chiefs just a few years ago, Patrick has developed into one of the most prolific athletes in all of sports,” Chiefs chairman and chief executive Clark Hunt said.

“With his dynamic play and infectious personality, he is one of the most recognised and beloved figures to put on the Chiefs uniform. He’s an extraordinary leader and a credit to the Kansas City community, and I’m delighted that he will be a member of the Chiefs for many years to come.”

An NFL quarterback throws the ball as a defender tries to grab him around the leg.
Mahomes is one of the league’s most dynamic players, with a powerful throwing and running game.(AP: Charlie Neibergall)

The contract extension starts in 2022 when the NFL salary cap is projected to be $227.5 million, but that number could be lower depending on revenue losses due to the coronavirus pandemic and the possibility any games played this season will not have fans.

Mahomes will take up a big chunk of Kansas City’s salary cap, about 20 per cent, which could make it difficult for the Chiefs to sign other stars, but general manager Brett Veach said the contract allowed them to ensure Mahomes is not forced to be a one-man team.

“We’re going to continue to do everything we can to surround him with talent, and this deal provides us more flexibility to do that,” Veach said.

“He’s obviously an integral part to our success and we’re thrilled he’s going to be the quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs for a long time.”

The danger with long contracts in a contact sport is that one bad knock can turn a no-brainer deal into a disastrous albatross.

Mahomes dealt with numerous injuries this past season, including a dislocated kneecap on a seemingly innocuous quarterback sneak that left him sidelined for a couple of games.

But he came back to lead the Chiefs on a long winning streak that culminated with a series of come-from-behind wins in the playoffs, including their second-half rally in the Super Bowl.

ESPN reported the new deal has a $US140 million guarantee in the event of a serious injury and a no-trade clause.

None of this takes into account Mahomes’s numerous endorsements, including lucrative deals with Adidas and Oakley.

AP/ABC



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Powerball Lotto $50 million jackpot winning numbers


Tonight’s $50 million Powerball jackpot has not managed to score a lucky winner, with the prize boosted to a whopping $80 million for next week’s draw.

The lottery draw 1259 winnings numbers include: 26 – 15 – 16 – 6 – 1 – 21 – 10.

One-in-six Australians are predicted to have gotten their hands on a ticket for the Powerball after the jackpot rocketed to $50 million after last Thursday’s Powerball draw.

The lucky numbers have evaded a winner for four weeks and the jackpot was the third biggest prize offered by any Australian lottery this year.

The last Powerball division one winner was crowned in May when a Logan man won $17 million and planned to break the news to his family by pulling into the driveway in a flash new car.

RELATED: Oz Lotto $30 million jackpot unclaimed

But the biggest winner of this particular game this year was a Port Macquarie man who pocketed a massive $80 million. The first thing this incredibly lucky winner did was buy his own brand new television.

“We certainly hope he’s enjoying that new TV and the rest of his $80 million prize,” The Lott’s Lauren Cooney said.

“We can’t wait to see where the next Powerball jackpot lands. Will the winning streak continue this Thursday for the Sunshine State or will the Powerball prize light up somewhere else in Australia? We will just have to wait and see.”

Powerball draw 1259 closes at 7.30pm AEST.

$1 MILLION CALL

Winning the lottery is the stuff of fantasies for most Aussies – but sadly, most of us will never know what it’s actually like.

But if you’ve ever wondered exactly what would happen if you received a life-changing call informing you that you’ve hit the jackpot, the mystery has just been solved.

That’s because Australia’s official lottery provider, The Lott, has just shared a recording of a phone call with a Queenslander who won a division one prize earlier this year.

The unnamed man – who was one of four division one winners – ended up pocketing a staggering total of $1,095,232.87.

In the clip, The Lott spokeswoman Lauren Cooney can be heard asking the man if he’d had the chance to check his online entry to the Saturday draw before confirming he was one of the lucky winners.

The clearly stunned man could respond with little more than a few expletives initially before telling Ms Cooney his “heart is just racing”.

He then told Ms Cooney he had “a good feeling” about the ticket, although he had no idea he had won big before the call.

“Oh, you don’t understand, that’s just amazing … oh my God,” he said.

“That’s just crazy, it made my day. I was actually having a cr*p morning, thank you very much.”



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Australian News

Oz Lotto $30 million jackpot winning numbers


Tonight’s $30 million Oz Lotto draw is set to jackpot yet again after failing to score a division one winner.

The winning numbers for tonight’s 1376 draw are: 28 – 26 – 17 – 39 – 1 – 44 – 38. The supplementary numbers are: 14 – 41.

It comes after no one won last week’s draw which saw tonight’s prize jackpot to $30 million. Next Tuesday’s draw 1377 will now jackpot to $50 million.

So far in 2020, nine players have won the Tuesday drawn division one prize for a combined $76 million, with the largest taken home by a Parramatta man who pocketed nearly $17 million.

But The Lott’s Lauren Cooney said her favourite winner of the year was a Wagga Wagga family who collected $15 million.

“The family had no idea their dad had been secretly buying lottery tickets for the family for decades, always hoping they’d one day share a big lottery prize,” she said in an email to news.com.au.

RELATED: The Lott shares call to $1 million lottery winner

“I had to bring the family together on a conference call to break the news and half of them didn’t even know they had a ticket in the draw, so you could imagine the shock and surprise when I told them they’d won $15 million.

“We’re looking forward to seeing if we crown the country’s biggest Oz Lotto winner of the year tonight.”

$1 MILLION CALL

Winning the lottery is the stuff of fantasies for most Aussies – but sadly, most of us will never know what it’s actually like.

But if you’ve ever wondered exactly what would happen if you received a life-changing call informing you that you’ve hit the jackpot, the mystery has just been solved.

That’s because Australia’s official lottery provider, The Lott, has just shared a recording of a phone call with a Queenslander who won a division one prize earlier this year.

The unnamed man – who was one of four division one winners – ended up pocketing a staggering total of $1,095,232.87.

In the clip, The Lott spokeswoman Lauren Cooney can be heard asking the man if he’d had the chance to check his online entry to the Saturday draw before confirming he was one of the lucky winners.

The clearly stunned man could respond with little more than a few expletives initially before telling Ms Cooney his “heart is just racing”.

He then told Ms Cooney he had “a good feeling” about the ticket, although he had no idea he had won big before the call.

“Oh, you don’t understand, that’s just amazing … oh my God,” he said.

“That’s just crazy, it made my day. I was actually having a cr*p morning, thank you very much.”



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Australian News

Scott Morrison announces $250 million in arts funding, grants, loans after coronavirus


The Federal Government has announced a $250 million “JobMaker” funding package for Australia’s arts sector today, in a bid to help it recover from crippling coronavirus restrictions.

Under the plan, artists and entertainers will be able to apply for $90 million worth of concessional loans to fund new productions, provided through commercial banks with a 100 per cent Commonwealth guarantee.

Another $75 million will be made available in grants from the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund to produce new concerts, tours, festivals and events. The grants range from $75,000 to $2 million.

Commonwealth-funded arts organisations across music, circus, dance and arts will be eligible for a slice of $35 million in direct grants, and $50 million will go towards helping film and television projects secure funding and resume production.

The package will be rolled out over the next 12 months, with more details on eligibility and applications to be released in the coming weeks.

The Prime Minister will also approach state and territory leaders about a timetable to reopen theatres and productions during Friday’s National Cabinet meeting.

Mr Morrison said the arts and entertainment sector was one of the first areas impacted by coronavirus, and would be one of the last to return to normality.

“Our JobMaker plan is getting their show back on the road, to get their workers back in jobs,” he said.

“We’re delivering the capital these businesses need so they can start working again and support the hundreds of thousands of Australians who make their living in the creative economy.”

He added the measures would support not only performers and artists, but also crew members, front of house staff, and would give a flow-on boost to the tourism and hospitality industries.

While the Coalition expects the package to serve as a big boost for workers, Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance chief executive Paul Murphy described the announcement as a “slap in the face”.

Mr Murphy said while the money was welcome, it would do more for organisations than for workers, who had gone months without a pay cheque.

“The grants and loans will help arts organisations begin to recover from the coronavirus shutdown, but there is absolutely no relief for freelance and casual workers who have lost their jobs and suffered significant reductions in income,” he said.

“These workers are the backbone of the industry.

“It is essential to provide capital injections and financing and investment incentives to the bodies that provide employment in the industry, but there is no point in doing that if you don’t have a workforce.”

Mr Murphy said creative workers would benefit more from a change to the eligibility criteria for JobKeeper, which would allow them to claim the income subsidy.

“The stark reality is that we are in danger of losing a generation of creative professionals in this country without an adequate income support scheme,” he said.

The Government has responded to MEAA’s statement, claiming arts workers receive about $100 million each month in wage subsidy payments, in addition to numerous state government bailout measures.



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Local News - Victoria

$320 million plan to raise Mornington Peninsula from economic slump


The project, to be delivered in sections, would create 83 jobs.

It would take in views of Western Port and Port Phillip bays, loop around Cape Schanck and pass the Port of Hastings.

Mornington Peninsula Shire mayor Sam Hearn said the proposed trail would attract visitors from around the world and showcase the region’s diverse landscapes, coastlines and local food.

The proposed bay trail would take in Cape Schanck on the peninsula.

The proposed bay trail would take in Cape Schanck on the peninsula. Credit:The Age

“It would be a big boost to our tourism economy,” he said. “We’ve got some great trails and hikes … but we think this offers something unique and fits with the global market for those holidays that combine an epicurean, physical recreation and environmental experience.”

Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism Board chair Tracey Cooper said the community faced a worrying future and high youth unemployment without government intervention.

“I’m quite concerned about the immediate 12-month future for the peninsula,” she said. “I think the council needs to do everything it can to accommodate investment.”

She said the council should also work with food producers to expand their farm-gate sales businesses to help offset the cost of losing supply deals with restaurants.

Cr Hearn said the council was seeking about $320 million in total funding to allow work to begin on the projects immediately.

The council wants to secure $25 million to fund a project piping recycled water from the Eastern Treatment Plant to local farmers and food producers, rather than flowing out to Bass Strait.

The project would aim to provide 1425 megalitres of water per year to farmers and increase revenue by $65 million annually.

A spokesman for Flinders MP Greg Hunt, whose electorate covers the peninsula, said the federal government had already provided $700 million for multiple infrastructure projects in recent years.

He said the Commonwealth had also committed $2 million for the Baxter-to-Somerville bike path that will form part of the bay trail and $70 million for an overpass the council was seeking to build, in addition to several other projects that amounted to about another $10 million.

“We are not aware that either the Victorian government or Mornington Peninsula Shire has contributed funding to any of these projects, but we encourage them to do so,” he said.

A state government spokesman said Victoria had spent billions of dollars supporting businesses, workers and families during the pandemic.

“Right now our focus is on getting on with the job of the hundreds of projects we’re fast-tracking to get people back into work, but we’re only too happy to work with councils across the state on the projects that matter to their residents,” he said.

The council is seeking to establish a “technology park” near the Port of Hastings it says will create 3000 jobs and attract manufacturers in the medical technology and pharmaceutical sectors.

The preferred location will be decided by September, but the council wants the state government to fast-track the rezoning of the land.

The Andrews government spokesman said there was no current rezoning request for the Port of Hastings.

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Thanks a Million: Nominate your frontline heroes


News Corp Australia is launching its #thanksamillion campaign to honour those who have put their safety and lives on the line keeping us safe.

The campaign invites readers to show their gratitude to the essential workers – from retail to teachers and posties – who kept Australia going through the coronavirus pandemic.

Published across all News Corp Australia state-based, regional and community news titles – the campaign will culminate in a national digital honour wall on News Corp Australia websites, with names also published in printed newspapers across the country.

The untold stories of the brave men and women on the frontline are also highlighted in a 12-part series – The Night Watch – launching in all News Corp Australia mastheads and online from June 21.

The intense project shines a light on the dedicated police, firefighters, paramedics, doctors and nurses who put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe.

Nominate your frontline heroes in our #thanksamillion campaign to honour those who have put their safety and lives on the line to keep us safe.

Fill out the form below.



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Local News - Victoria

More than 7.4 million images of child abuse circulating in Victoria


“We’re seeing a lot more traffic for IP addresses, a lot more activity in the dark web, a lot more activity in the white web.

“This kind of offending is almost 100 per cent reliant on online activity so the environment has been perfect. We’ve got people isolated at home, in front of their computers and other devices. They’re a captive audience, frankly.”

Police software cannot detect whether one file is actually composed of multiple compressed files, which suggests the volume of materials could be substantially larger.

But the number of computers trading child abuse material tracked back to Victorian IP addresses has spiked 34 per cent over the year, suggesting supply and demand in the illegal marketplace is growing at a substantial pace.

In April, police arrested and charged a Melbourne-man and rescued several children, aged 3-5 years, after evidence revealed they had been victims of “contact offending” by someone who was already on bail for child abuse-related offences.

Investigators were also recently able to identify three young Victorian boys who appeared in a child abuse video uploaded to a website five years ago that was found in the possession of a UK-based offender.

In a series of interviews with The Age, investigators and senior officers from JACET – a joint operation with the Australian Federal Police that targets online child abuse – said the law enforcement community has detected a number of other disturbing trends.

“The most worrying is seeing the increase in violent images. And the willingness (of offenders) to view younger children,” Ms Welsh said.

The prolonged lockdown period and increased time children are spending online has also raised warning flags for JACET, which has been using covert operatives to infiltrate social media and encrypted chat groups to target groomers.

Other officers have been investigating complaints about suspect behaviour in online games such as Fortnite and Minecraft.

JACET said many parents were unaware that their children could be exposed to predators through Xbox and Playstation consoles that have text and audio chat functions.

“Children can be groomed in a matter of minutes – these offenders are often master manipulators – and their operations can be quite sophisticated,” Ms Welsh said.

Paedophiles are also increasingly accessing live-streamed, pay-per-view child abuse video sites hosted from overseas locations.

The AFP and JACET teams nationwide have recently been involved in investigations where numerous children exploited on behalf of Australian offenders have been rescued from abusers.

On Friday, a Queensland man was charged by AFP investigators with facilitating the online abuse of up to 50 child victims in the Philippines. Three victims were rescued from his alleged co-conspirator in that country in May.

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Westpac is also currently being prosecuted by anti-money laundering authority AUSTRAC over allegations its international payment systems have been used to facilitate acts of abuse in the international child sex trade.

Detective Inspector Marty Allison said online exploitation was a “borderless crime”.

“The offender may very well be Victoria, but the victim may well be in Germany or Cambodia. It could be happening anywhere.”

Operations with the AFP and Australian Border Force have also been seizing child-like sex dolls that are manufactured in China and shipped into Australia from Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan disguised as toys.

The ABF has seized 75 child-like sex dolls this year to date, compared to 35 in the last financial year.

Authorities are expecting to receive a spike in new offences as lockdown restrictions ease because vulnerable children have been trapped with potential offenders and isolated from professionals like teachers and doctors who are mandatorily required to report abuse.

But the JACET officers also acknowledge that child abuse is so prevalent that’s is impossible to ever completely stop.

“There are 17,000 police in Victoria and I reckon if we put them all onto JACET we still wouldn’t make a dent in the offending. I’m not kidding,” Mr Allison said.

“Our number-one priority is the rescue and recovery of children from any further harm – way over and above how many offenders we charge or how many charges they get.”

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