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22 May 2015—National effort to fight organised crime

Minister for Justice

National effort to fight organised crime

22 May 2015

Organised crime represents an ongoing threat to this country. They are violent predators who profit from the misery of evil trades.

The Australian Crime Commission’s report Organised Crime in Australia 2015 I released on Wednesday, confirmed organised criminals are growing in sophistication by adopting new and advanced technologies to support their criminal activities.

Modern technologies are enabling organised crime to expand its reach globally and inject itself beyond its traditional business models into new markets – both legitimate and illegitimate – in order to increase the misery it peddles and generate greater proceeds from crime.

Today at the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council meeting in Canberra, the Commonwealth, State and Territory Attorneys General and Police Ministers endorsed the National Organised Crime Response Plan 2015-18 - a vital tool in the fight against organised crime, and the threat it poses to our nation.

This document outlines how the Commonwealth, states and territories will work together over the next three years to address a number of key threats from serious and organised crime including the increasing prevalence of drugs such as ice and gun-related crime and violence, as well emerging threats of online scams, hacking and the theft of personal information stored electronically, and even suspected links with financing terrorism.

Tackling these threats requires a collaborative and coordinated national response.

Under the National Organised Crime Response Plan 2015-18, the Commonwealth, States and Territories have agreed to a range of priorities for our law enforcement agencies including:

  • tackling the increased prevalence of methylamphetamine in the community by developing an electronic system to capture information about the sale of precursor chemicals across Australia, to help stop these chemicals from being diverted from legitimate markets to drug manufacturing;
  • reducing gun-related crime and violence by fast-tracking the introduction of the National Firearms Interface. This will provide a single, shared record for each firearm in Australia, and the ability to trace firearms from foundry to furnace;
  • developing a national approach to targeting financial crime such as revenue and taxation fraud, superannuation fraud, investment and financial market fraud through the Serious and Financial Crime Taskforce announced by the Government in the 2015-16 Budget;
  • tacking the criminal proceeds of organised crime by bolstering anti-money laundering measures and developing a national scheme on unexplained wealth; and
  • reducing barriers to information sharing between agencies by enhancing arrangements with the Australian Tax Office, Centrelink and AUSTRAC, improving exchange of prisons intelligence between the Australian Crime Commission and corrective services anddeveloping a national facial biometric matching capability.

The Australian Government is fostering unprecedented joint efforts with our state and territory counterparts to detect, disrupt and undermine the business models of organised crime.

In our first 18 months the Coalition Government invested heavily in law enforcement agencies, and introduced tough legislation to prosecute those who seek to peddle this harm.

On coming to Government the Coalition fast-tracked the National Anti-Gang Squad, which includes strike teams in Victoria, NSW, WA and QLD and liaison officers in South Australia and the Northern Territory. These teams supply the intelligence that feeds our understanding of the illicit drug market, and are leading the charge to detect and disrupt the business models of organised criminal gangs.

We opened the Australian Gangs Intelligence Coordination Centre within the Australian Crime Commission, to collate and share cross-border intelligence and we boosted screening at our borders with $88 million following harsh cuts by the ALP.

Further we introduced new laws to the Parliament enabling a crackdown on middle-men and drug couriers bringing precursors into the country to make illicit drugs like ice, and we changed legislation to manage the proliferation of dangerous synthetic drugs at our borders.

While intelligence agencies are warning every day Australians are at risk of falling victim to sophisticated traps set by criminal gangs, motivated by greed at any cost to our nation, today’s Response Plan provides greater alignment of law enforcement agencies and justice responses to these issues, at the same time recognising that Commonwealth, state and territory agencies have different roles and priorities.

We have the best law enforcement authorities in the world that are committed to protecting our way of life. The cross-jurisdictional nature of the Response Plan is indicative of the active support and engagement by all stakeholders.

Collectively, our first priority is to keep our nation safe.

To view the National Organised Crime Response Plan visit http://www.ag.gov.au/CrimeAndCorruption/OrganisedCrime/Pages/default.aspx