New Bill ‘Combating the Financing of People Smuggling and Other Measures’ Introduced in Australian Parliament

Canberra, Australia ( February 10, 2011

New Bill 'Combating the Financing of People Smuggling and Other Measures' Introduced in Australian Parliament

New Bill 'Combating the Financing of People Smuggling and Other Measures' Introduced in Australian Parliament

Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor today introduced a Bill designed to help stem the flow of money for people smuggling ventures, as well as other serious crimes.

“People smugglers need money to launch their dangerous ventures and we’re committed to stopping them from getting the funds they require to ply their illegal trade,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Law enforcement agencies are concerned about the role the remittance sector can inadvertently play in facilitating people smuggling. We’re dedicated to doing all we can to help our law enforcers to stop this terrible trade in human life,” Mr O’Connor

The Combating the Financing of People Smuggling and Other Measures Bill introduces amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 to strengthen the regulation of the remittance sector.

Remittance dealers accept payment in one location and arrange an equivalent payment to someone in another location overseas. Remittance dealers range from global money transfer businesses to small entities that operate out of grocery stores.

The Bill will provide tougher and more effective regulation of the remittance sector by:

  • Introducing a more comprehensive registration scheme requiring remitters to provide information about their suitability for accreditation
  • Giving the AUSTRAC CEO the power to refuse, suspend, cancel or impose conditions on registration
  • Enabling the AUSTRAC CEO to issue infringement notices and penalties for non-compliance
  • Requiring remittance networks to comply with some reporting rules on behalf of their agents.

“These measures will help limit the risk of remittance dealers facilitating people smuggling, as well as money laundering, terrorism financing and other serious crimes.”

The Government has consulted extensively with the remittance sector about these changes since early last year.

“This is another concrete example of this Government’s commitment to stopping dangerous and inhumane people smugglers from profiting from this serious crime,” Mr O’Connor said.

This Bill complements laws introduced last year that mean people who provide material support to people smugglers now face up to ten years jail and fines of up to $110,000.

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