Latest Weapon in the Fight Against Organised Crime Launched by Government – ‘The Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce’

Canberra, Australia ( March 09, 2011

Latest Weapon in the Fight Against Organised Crime Launched by Government - 'The Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce'

Latest Weapon in the Fight Against Organised Crime Launched by Government - 'The Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce'

The Attorney-General Robert McClelland and the Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor will today launch the latest weapon in the fight against organised crime

The Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce will combine the resources of the Australian Federal Police, Australian Crime Commission, Australian Taxation Office and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Taskforce will use the Commonwealth Proceeds of Crime Act to boost the identification of assets that should be seized and strengthen the pursuit of wealth collected by criminals at the expense of the community.

“We know that money is the lifeblood of organised crime and by stopping the flow of criminal funds we can smash a hole in these illegal syndicates,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Organised crime costs Australia an estimated $15 billion a year and the social and environmental repercussions of the often violent crimes are immeasurable,” he said.

“This new taskforce is focussed on hitting criminals where it hurts.”

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said that since the introduction of the Proceeds of Crime Act in 1987, more than $210 million of assets have been confiscated by the Commonwealth.

“We know that there are a lot more ill-gotten gains in Australia that could and should be seized under this legislation,” Mr McClelland said.

“That’s why this multi-agency team has been established to focus on depriving criminals of their funds so they cannot use those assets in future to fund further offences against the Australian community,” Mr McClelland said.

“The taskforce will also act as a deterrent to criminals, knowing that authorities will be in a stronger position to track the assets they’ve acquired through crime.

“This taskforce – along with the Gillard Government’s broader package of organised crime measures – will help to protect families and make Australia safer.”

The establishment of the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce meets Labor’s 2010 Federal election campaign commitment and further strengthens the Gillard Governments attack on organised crime.

The taskforce will take an intelligence-led approach to the identification of potential criminal asset confiscation targets and will use the combined intelligence, operations, legal and policy resources of participating agencies to achieve successful seizures of criminal assets.

Through close collaboration, better identification and prosecution of matters can be achieved and strategies can be developed to for the most effective and appropriate confiscation approach to  each individual case.

Mr O’Connor said the profits from seized criminal assets are used for community-based crime prevention and law enforcement initiatives as part of the Proceeds of Crime Act Scheme.

“Community groups can apply for funding through the scheme to help with initiatives such as seniors safety courses, youth diversion projects, CCTV and making public spaces safer for everyone,” he said.

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