$24 million to establish the Australian Crime Commission's Foreign Fighters Taskforce
2 September 2014
As part of the recently announced $630 million in enhanced counter terrorism measures, the Government has provided $24.4 million to the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), the nation's criminal intelligence agency.
This new investment will support the national effort against terrorism by providing the ACC with 22 investigators and analysts to establish a Foreign Fighters Task Force. It will also be used to upgrade the ACC's IT system.
The ACC has always worked with national security agencies on the links between terrorism and organised crime, but this funding will allow them to dedicate personnel and resources specifically to the foreign fighter threat.
The ACC possesses unique coercive powers and intelligence gathering abilities which will be harnessed in the fight against terrorism.
The ACC's coercive powers compel individuals and organisations to provide information when questioned, and if they don't they can be brought before the courts on contempt charges.
Compelling returned foreign fighters and extremists to provide information has the potential to save lives by identifying additional terrorist suspects or their facilitators, domestically and offshore.
The ACC will also expand its focus on analysing criminal intelligence to explore the very real links between terrorism and organised crime.
Utilising the ACC's Fusion intelligence capability will also bolster the analysis of intelligence in order to increase the chances or identifying the extent of new and emerging links between extremists and criminal networks.
The nexus between terrorism and organised crime remains a persistent threat, and the ACC as the nation's criminal intelligence agency is best placed to identify these links, fill the intelligence gaps and disrupt the serious and organised crime groups involved.
The ACC is already focusing existing resources on the threat of foreign fighters and has in the last 12 months conducted 40 coercive hearings on 24 individuals.
The ACC's Foreign Fighters Task Force will add a powerful capability to the Government's response to the very real and growing threat of homegrown terrorism.