PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript - 24695

Bolstering the fight against ice

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/08/2015

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 24695

As part of national efforts to bolster the fight against the ice scourge, the Commonwealth Government will provide more than $18 million to the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) to further strengthen its crime-fighting capabilities.

The Australian Crime Commission’s Organised Crime in Australia 2015 report says  transnational criminal syndicates still rely on the illegal drug market as their principal source of profit  with more than 60 per cent of Australia’s highest risk criminal targets involved in the illegal drug market and driving the expansion of the ice scourge.

Increases in border detections of methylamphetamine worldwide provide further evidence of the growth of the market.

That is why criminal profits confiscated and held by the Government in the proceeds of crime account will be redirected to the fight against ice, including:

• $9.8 million over two years 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.
• $5 million over four years to deploy ACC transnational crime analysts to organised crime and drug importation hotspots including the United States, Canada, Dubai and Hong Kong.
• $3.4 million over two years to boost the ACC’s capability to target money laundering activities and undermine the business models of transnational criminal syndicates that are profiting from the misery of the illegal ice trade.

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 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, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. The ACC supplies vital intelligence to these teams to feed their understanding of the illegal drug market, and drive 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 former government.

New laws – that passed the House of Representatives yesterday – will crackdown on middle-men and drug couriers bringing precursors into the country to make ice, and we changed legislation to manage the proliferation of dangerous synthetic drugs at our borders.

The Coalition Government is committed to detecting and disrupting criminal behaviour, undermining criminal business models, stopping their drugs at our borders, and removing the profit from their crimes.

While sophisticated criminal syndicates continue to adapt and evolve to expand their reach, the Commonwealth Government is fostering unprecedented joint efforts with state and territory counterparts to detect, disrupt and undermine the illegal ice market.

Ice is far more potent, far more dangerous, and far more addictive than any other illegal drug. Its destructive impacts are inflicting harm on our communities.

Today’s announcement will help give our law enforcement agencies the resources they need to keep our community safe.

13 August 2015

Transcript - 24695