Police rule out action on party at billionaire’s mansion during Victorian lockdown

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<p><figcaption class=Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Police have ruled out taking action against those who attended a dinner party held at an estate owned by billionaire Anthony Pratt during Victoria’s fifth lockdown.

Victoria Police attended the party at the Pratt family’s Kew residence on July 23, 2021, according to video obtained by the Age.

In a statement, a spokesperson said police could take no further action “because the statute of limitations has expired”.

“Police attended a residence on Studley Park Road, Kew at around 6.45pm on July 23, 2021 following reports of a breach of [the] directives from the Chief Medical Officer of Health,” the spokesperson said.

“Members spoke with residents and staff at the address, and no violations were detected.”

Video footage shows a number of people allegedly at Raheen, the estate of packaging and recycling magnate Anthony Pratt, walking through a doorway at 6.47pm on July 23, 2021.

Victoria Police confirmed they visited a house that evening. Someone, whose face is blurred in the video, closes the door behind them.

Related: Anthony Pratt gave Liberals $1.3m as upstart political groups secure major donations

At 6:59 p.m., the video shows people walking out – some smiling; we wear a mask.

During the lockdown, which ran from July 15 to July 27, people were only allowed to leave their homes to shop, exercise, provide care, perform authorized work, or get vaccinated. .

Pratt, who runs the global Visy empire, is one of Australia’s richest men. Earlier this year, the Aussie placed him and his family number three on their rich list, calculating their wealth at around $28 billion.

Pratt Holdings was Australia’s largest political donor in 2020-21, giving the Liberal Party $1.3 million ahead of the 2022 election. In 2019, former US President Donald Trump joined the former Prime Minister Scott Morrison to visit one of Pratt’s American factories.

The day before the holiday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews called for a ‘ring of steel’ around Sydney to stop the incursion of the delta variant of the coronavirus into Victoria. This appeal was prompted by 24 cases, all linked to an outbreak in New South Wales.

Depending on age, Pratt and his family hosted dinner at the family mansion in Kew and up to a dozen guests, mostly family members who lived elsewhere, attended.

Guardian Australia has contacted Raheen chief executive Phillip Nikolitsis and Visy Industries for comment.

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