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20 October 2015—Commonwealth committed to protecting law enforcement agencies

Minister for Justice

Commonwealth committed to protecting law enforcement agencies

20 October 2015

The Commonwealth Government welcomes today's comments from the Police Federation of Australia.

Australia is facing its most significant threat from terrorism, and our law enforcement agencies are the best in the world at not only managing that threat and keeping the nation safe – but tackling the very real dangers for their members.

The Commonwealth Government has provided law enforcement with significant boost of $630 million to counter terrorism, part of a $1.3 billion investment in keeping Australians safe since the terror threat level was raised to high in August last year.

We have also introduced four of a proposed five tranches of legislation to strengthen our agencies ability to act swiftly in the face of terror.

National Criminal Intelligence System

At the last election, the Coalition committed to ensuring proceeds of crime are directed to crime prevention projects and to assisting law enforcement agencies disrupt criminal activity.

Previously, Labor locked proceeds of crime money in the Confiscated Assets Account and used these funds to boost its budget bottom line, instead of boosting crime-fighting at the frontline. Had this continued, up to $112 million would be locked up in the account by 2017-18.

Under the Coalition, the Confiscated Assets Account is now used to fight crime and address the legacy of underinvestment in crime prevention and law enforcement by the former Labor Government.

In August, the Australian Government announced $9.8 million over two years from the Confiscated Assets Account to establish a new National Criminal Intelligence System that will redevelop Australia's criminal intelligence systems and database infrastructure, and strengthen information and intelligence sharing across law enforcement agencies and jurisdictions.

Public safety mobile broadband

The Australian Government recognises the potential benefits of a nationally interoperable mobile broadband communications capability for public safety agencies.

Spectrum is a highly valuable and scarce resource. Decisions on its allocation must be carefully considered.

In November 2014, the Government commissioned the Productivity Commission to undertake a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of the most cost-effective and timely means of delivering a PSMB capability. The Commission released its draft report on 28 October.

The report compares options, including a dedicated PSMB network, utilising a commercial solution and a mixed model. It concludes that a commercial approach is the most efficient, effective and economical way of delivering a PSMB capability

The Australian Government will consider its response to the Productivity Commission after receiving its Final Report, which is due at the end of December 2015.

Unexplained wealth

Organised crime costs the Australian economy an estimated $15 billion each year and that is a conservative estimate.

The Coalition Government is leading the push for a coordinated regime to reclaim the wealth that is unable to be explained by legitimate business.

We cannot allow criminals to exploit our state and territory laws to create sage havens for ill-gotten gains at the expense of hard working Australians.

A national scheme on unexplained wealth will provide law enforcement with an additional tool to undermine serious and organised crime groups profiting from the lucrative drug trade.

We cannot allow criminals to flaunt their illegitimate wealth when everyone knows they are crooks.

All Australian jurisdictions have laws in place to target criminal proceeds but a national scheme with state and territories working together with the Commonwealth will maximise our chances of seizing more proceeds of crime.

A national scheme will undermine the business model of criminal gangs and stop them reinvesting their illegitimate profits into illicit markets that exploit the safety of our communities.

National case management system

All policing jurisdictions have different case management and investigation systems and processes that they use.

In order for jurisdictions to share data, information and reports, different requirements exist across all states, territories and the Commonwealth.

In 2010, CrimTrac undertook a feasibility study with engagement from all jurisdictions.

There are complex legislative, governance, and information sharing issues that will have to be agreed by states and Commonwealth before any national case management system can be progressed.