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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 May 2021) . . Page.. 1406 ..

On 24 April I was pleased to attend Sri Lankan new year at Commonwealth Park. The event included an introduction by organisers Ruvi Lecamwasam and Kavinya Welikala. I was privileged to be part of the lamp-lighting ceremony. It was good to see Ms Orr, as well as our leader Elizabeth Lee, there. We received a Buddhist blessing by the chief incumbent of the Sri Lankan Buddhist temple, Soratha Thero, and a Hindu blessing by Sri Kalikambal Devasthanam from Wanniassa.

We enjoyed a welcoming speech by the ALSA president, with a great deal of information about the long-term relationship between Australia and Sri Lanka, and an introduction to new year customs and traditions by the comperes in both English and Sinhalese. We were addressed by His Excellency the Acting High Commissioner of Sri Lanka and we enjoyed seeing the children once again dressed and partaking in their traditional dances. Now that the pandemic is under more control, it was a happy occasion to see these dances again after more than a year of people not being able to gather together.

We thank the organisers, Savi and Surangani Luck. We give a special thanks for the wonderful curry and traditional Sri Lankan sweets. They were a big hit.

I wish a happy new year to all Sinhalese, Tamil and Sri Lankan originating Canberrans: may this new year be filled with blessings for you.

Seniors—scams on the elderly

DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (4.54): I would like to bring the Assembly’s attention to scams in our community. As we are sitting here this afternoon, the Australian Federal Police have issued a warning on an Australian Taxation Office scam that is currently going through our community. These scams are highly targeted and not unusual, but this afternoon I want to bring specific attention to how these scammers target older people in our community.

This year alone, 17,836 scams have been reported targeting Australians over 55. In January to March this year, older Australians have lost over $17 million combined. That is a staggering amount. This is particularly devastating when you consider that these abuses take place at a point where people often look to retire and enjoy the superannuation they have worked hard for.

The most prevalent scams are related to technology, investment and dating. Dating and romance scams take advantage of the elderly when they are emotionally vulnerable, often after they have lost their life partners. Scammers leverage the socially isolated and prey on the lonely, leaving a devastating financial and emotional impact.

Investment scams, including fake and fraudulent financial advisers, have the capacity to erode the financial security of older people, due to their direct access to the older person’s bank accounts. Another big one is internet and technology-based scams, where older people are taken advantage of due to their lack of education and familiarity with digital technology.

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