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A new international agreement will boost Australia’s ability to detect and identify immigration fraud and cast a wider net when checking the backgrounds of unauthorised arrivals and other people held in immigration detention.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said today that an agreement for biometric data-sharing between Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom was signed last night. Under the partnership, Australia will be able to securely and confidentially cross check fingerprints with Canadian and UK databases.

Currently, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship collects fingerprints from all people in immigration detention, including irregular arrivals and illegal foreign fishers. It is expected fingerprint collection will be progressively rolled out to other people in the immigration caseload in the future.

‘The Australian Government’s ability to detect immigration and identity fraud will be greatly improved as a result of new biometric data-sharing arrangements with partner agencies in Canada and the United Kingdom,’ Senator Evans said. ‘This data-sharing will help to establish the true identities of unknown people, and ensure that fraudulent cases are dealt with appropriately through the improved ability to detect inconsistent identity and immigration claims.

It will also help authorities to increase the chance of detecting people with criminal histories and other people of concern, aid in the timely removal of unlawful non-citizens where their identities and/or nationalities were previously unknown or uncertain, and improve detection of fraudulent immigration practices and trends.

The new biometric data-sharing plan was developed at the Five Country Conference, which is a forum on immigration and border security between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The US is expected to join the data-sharing arrangement in due course.

The benefits of international biometric data sharing were highlighted recently when an individual claiming asylum in the UK was found to have previously been fingerprinted in the USA while travelling on an Australian passport.

The individual was subsequently confirmed as an Australian citizen wanted for sexual assault. The man was removed to Australia to face court, and is now serving a jail sentence.

Senator Evans said the new data-sharing arrangements would not affect privacy laws.

‘The protection of personal information is important to all the countries involved in these arrangements. All data shared by my department will adhere to the Privacy Act 1988,’ the minister said.

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The Rudd Government’s partnership with business and community leaders to Keep Australia Working has secured more than 1000 jobs in its first week, Minister for Employment Participation, Senator Mark Arbib, announced today.

Senator Arbib today joined Local Jobs Champions Bill Kelty and Lindsay Fox at the third Keep Australia Working Forum at Casula, where he announced 240 jobs in Canterbury Bankstown and South Western Sydney Employment Priority Area.

The Australian Government is providing $3.7 million from the $650 million Jobs Fund for three Western Sydney Projects.

The 240 jobs in Western Sydney bring to more than 500 the positions funded through the Jobs Fund and come on top of the 250 jobs in South Eastern Melbourne and 23 jobs in Northern Tasmania announced at jobs forums earlier this week.

The private sector is also playing a significant role in boosting employment with Lindsay Fox announcing this week he would employ an extra 450 staff over the next two years at Linfox and Woolworths announcing 60 jobs for its new logistics centre in Launceston.

“The Rudd Government is doing everything possible to keep Australians working,” Senator Arbib said. 

“This week by working together – the Government and industry – we’ve managed to create or protect more than 1000 jobs.

“Not every week will be as successful as this week in keeping people in work. There will be ups and downs, because the global recession is far from over.

“But this week has shown what can be achieved by working together.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Employment Jason Clare said community leaders, business representatives and job service providers would today join Government to develop a regional employment strategy for Canterbury Bankstown and South Western Sydney.

“The Keep Australia Working forums allow the community to maximise the benefits of the Government’s Economic Stimulus Plan and Jobs Fund and develop localised responses to the impact of the global recession.

“We want to find job opportunities for local businesses and workers, particularly in areas like Western Sydney where unemployment is a growing problem.”

Mr Clare said Local Jobs Champions, Lindsay Fox and Bill Kelty, would bring their considerable experience and wisdom to the table.

“The Local Jobs Champions will help forum participants identify local skill and labour needs and develop directions for the future,” Mr Clare said.

“It’s great to have Lindsay Fox and Bill Kelty on board. Few people understand the Australian economy better than these blokes, they’ve been through it before. They’re travelling with us around the country helping areas hit hardest by the global recession.”

Today’s forum is the third in a series being rolled out in employment priority areas across Australia as recommended in the Keep Australia Working interim report presented last week to Deputy Prime Minister Gillard by Senator Arbib and Mr Clare.

There are now 20 employment priority areas around the country:

  • Canterbury Bankstown and South Western Sydney (New South Wales)
  • Illawarra (New South Wales)
  • Richmond Tweed and Clarence Valley (New South Wales)
  • Mid North Coast (New South Wales)
  • Sydney West and Blue Mountains (New South Wales)
  • Central Coast Hunter (New South Wales)
  • South Eastern Melbourne (Victoria)
  • North Western Melbourne (Victoria)
  • Ballarat Bendigo (Central Victoria)
  • North Eastern Victoria
  • Ipswich Logan (Queensland)
  • Cairns (Queensland)
  • Townsville Thuringowa (Queensland)
  • Caboolture Sunshine Coast (Queensland)
  • Southern Wide Bay Burnett (Queensland)
  • Bundaberg Hervey Bay (Queensland)
  • Northern and Western Adelaide (South Australia)
  • Port Augusta Whyalla Port Pirie (South Australia)
  • South West Perth (Western Australia)
  • North West/Northern Tasmania.

For more information on Keep Australia Working, visit http://www.deewr.gov.au/Employment/KeepAustraliaWorking/Pages/home.aspx

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  • Last-minute tips to save on tax
  • What to claim, how to file
  • Plenty of help on ATO website

HAPPY New Year! Well, almost. With only 24 hours left until the end of financial year, what should you be doing today to ensure that you don’t end up with a big tax hangover tomorrow?

“Don’t forget to pay your expenses,” says Tracey Nicholson, the Assistant Commissioner of Taxation.

“Ensuring that expenses are paid and claimed in the correct tax year can save a lot of headaches in having tax returns amended down the track.”

Ms Nicholson suggests that some top-priority things for taxpayers to do prior to lodging their return include:

• Go surfing! The ATO website, that is.

“There is a wealth of information on the ATO website, both general as well as information that’s specific to various professions,” says Ms Nicholson. “It’s a great place to start your research on what you may be able to claim as a deduction.”

• Spring clean the house to find your receipts.

“At the end of the day you need to keep your receipts to substantiate your claims,” says Ms Nicholson.

• Lodge online.

If you are DIYing your tax, Ms Nicholson recommends the online e-tax process as a great way to complete your return.

“It’s free, and has a great step-by-step process that will help remind you of anything that you have forgotten,” she says.

It can be worth getting professional advice as well though. Bill Keays, founding director of WA-based Hales Keays Chartered Accountants says that in his experience there are a number of tax-related benefits that people sometimes overlook.

“Motor vehicle expenses are often overlooked,” he says.

“You can claim up to 5000 kilometres of work-related use based on a reasonable estimate of business kilometers, without needing to keep a log book. But some people think that if they haven’t kept a log book, they can’t claim.”

Another forgotten area, according to Mr Keays, is depreciation on a rental property.

“Sometimes clients are not aware of how much depreciation they can claim,” he says.

“For taxpayers who have a relatively modern rental property, engage a quantity surveyor to prepare a depreciation report. They will typically save you many times more than their fee due to the deductions they identify.”

But lest you get carried away with all the potential deductions out there, remember that you do need the paperwork to back it up.

“We conduct plenty of audits,”says Ms Nicholson.

“We’re going to have a special focus on truck drivers, sales and marketing managers, sales reps and electricians this year – but any taxpayer has the chance of being audited.”

And while it may be too late for this financial year, consider getting some professional advice for next year’s tax return because sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know.

“There’s usually always some way in which we can save clients extra money, either by identifying deductions or simply getting their tax structures right to start with,” says Mr Keays.

“The Small Business CGT concessions are a great example.

“One of my clients was expecting to pay capital gains tax of approximately $240,000 when he disposed of his business and he ended up paying nothing by applying these concessions.”

Your tax time checklist                                                                                                                                                                                           

To help you get the best tax return possible, here’s a few things to tick off your “to do” list today:

1. Are you eligible for the Superannuation Co-contribution? If so, it’s up to $1,500 of free money.

2. If you use your car for work, don’t forget to estimate your motor vehicle expenses.

3. A 20% tax offset is available for out of pocket medical expenses over $1500.

4. Donations of over $2 made to a deductible gift recipient are tax deductible.

5. The cost of having your tax return prepared is also an allowable deduction.

6. Income Protection insurance premiums can also be a tax deduction.

7. Small business owners who are selling business assets can take advantage of extremely generous “small business CGT concessions.”

8. You can claim up to $300 of work related expenses without the need to have written receipts. However once your claim exceeds $300 you must have receipts for the full amount.

9. Don’t forget all those miscellaneous work expenses such as union fees, seminars, trade journals, software and home office expenses. Even an appointment diary can be deductible.

10. Check the deductions fact sheet for your specific occupation to ensure that you are claiming everything that you are entitled to.

Source  :   www.news.com.au

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