Afternoon Update: robotax ‘bugs’ revealed; toxic smoke warning after Melbourne fire; and 16 insects approved for human consumption

<span>The ATO’s ‘robotax’ campaign had multiple bugs in its systems, internal documents reveal.</span><span>Photograph: Tom Compagnoni/AAP</span>
The ATO’s ‘robotax’ campaign had multiple bugs in its systems, internal documents reveal.Photograph: Tom Compagnoni/AAP

Welcome, readers, to Afternoon Update.

The Australian Taxation Office’s troubled “robotax” campaign had multiple bugs in its systems – affecting hundreds of accounts – in the lead-up to an expansion in a bid to collect as much as $15.6bn from taxpayers.

That’s the revelation of internal ATO reports and correspondence obtained under freedom of information laws by iTnews which showed more than 600 accounts were affected by failings in the ATO’s systems.

It even included “false debts” wrongly extracted from taxpayers, meaning the problems with the rollout of the program were even bigger than previously known.

Top news

  • Toxic smoke warning after factory blaze | Thousands of Victorians have been told to stay indoors as toxic smoke billows across Melbourne from a large factory fire. There were no reports of injuries and it is believed everyone inside the Derrimut factory in Melbourne’s west evacuated safely after a chemical explosion

  • Government to establish 12 new Indigenous protected areas | Mount Willoughby in South Australia, Yanyuwa Sea Country in the Northern Territory and Bellinger Valley consultation project in New South Wales are some of the locations included in the list of new Indigenous protected areas after a $14.5m investment. IPAs are areas of land and sea country managed by First Nations groups.

  • Domestic violence burns more severe than from accidents | Burns suffered by women in domestic violence attacks are often more severe, deeper and can lead to worse health outcomes than those suffering accidental burns, according to new Australian research. Researchers say the statistics do not show the full extent of the issue, which includes threats of burns and damage or destruction of property.

  • Trump airs list of false grievances at rally | Donald Trump has returned to the campaign trail in Florida where he was expected to announce his running mate for November’s general election. Instead, he embarked on a 75-minute speech insulting Joe Biden, and airing a litany of familiar grievances including: “We don’t eat bacon any more.”

  • US Gaza aid pier to be permanently dismantled | The pier, which has had to be moved repeatedly to avoid bad weather and was built just 20 days ago as a way to bring sea-borne humanitarian aid into Gaza, is reportedly set to be disassembled by the US army and navy.

  • New Zealand sea temperatures hit record highs | New data shows that since 1982 oceanic sea-surface temperatures have increased on average between 0.16C and 0.26C a decade, and between 0.19C and 0.34C a decade in coastal waters, outstripping global averages threefold in one spot. Each oceanic and coastal region experienced their hottest years ever recorded in either 2022 or 2023.

  • Argentina fire past Canada and into Copa América final | Lionel Messi’s first goal at this edition of Copa América, and his 14th in the tournament overall, sealed Argentina’s 2-0 semi-final victory over Canada in front of more than 80,000 fans.

  • Shrek 5 confirmed for 2026 | DreamWorks Animation, the production company behind all six films in the Shrek franchise, confirmed the news on Wednesday, announcing it would feature the core voice cast, Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz.

In pictures

World Architecture festival 2024 shortlist

The World Architecture festival’s 2024 shortlist has been announced, revealing projects spanning categories such as childcare, energy, transport and science.

What they said …


“What kids wouldn’t want to eat a cricket chip?” Skye Blackburn

Singapore has heeded the UN’s advice and approved 16 species of insect as safe for human consumption, including crickets, grubs, moth larvae and one species of honeybee. Blackburn, an Australian entomologist and food scientist, found the development “exciting”.

In numbers

Just a year after the UK introduced a tax on sugary soft drinks, the amount of sugar consumed by children has nearly halved from 70g a day. The latest research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health will be of keen interest to Australian lawmakers looking to implement a similar tax here.

Before bed read

Power of good: how solar sponge tariffs can be a win for your pocket and the planet

These cheap daytime tariffs match the time when solar panels pump out the most energy and households use the least electricity, writes Peter Mares.

Daily word game

Today’s starter word is: NIFE. You have five goes to get the longest word including the starter word. Play Wordiply.

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