Cross jurisdictional working group to tackle crime syndicates

By Tom Ravlic

March 25, 2022

Home affairs minister Karen Andrews said the powers would enable the agencies to fight serious crime online.
Home affairs minister Karen Andrews. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Organised crime syndicates are set to be the target of a cross-jurisdictional working group in a national effort to disrupt the kind of money-laundering activities that have been revealed at recent Crown Casino and Star City inquiries.

The agreement between ministers from federal, state and territory governments to establish a working group was reached at the most recent meeting of the Ministerial Meeting on Counter-Terrorism, Transnational, Serious and Organised Crime, chaired by Home Affairs minister Karen Andrews.

Key items the working group will consider include consistent legislation across jurisdictions and better reciprocal information-sharing arrangements for exclusion orders that would apply to environments where gambling takes place.

Greater consistency of processes and rules between them related to exclusion orders for people involved in money laundering through casinos, gaming and racing venues is seen as a way of cracking down on money laundering activity.

Money laundering at gambling venues such as casinos has featured prominently in media reporting and in official reporting from various inquiries conducted into Crown Casino’s activities and those of Star City, which is the subject of a current inquiry into New South Wales.

The royal commission into Crown Casino’s operations chaired by Ray Finkelstein QC in Victoria, a Western Australian royal commission into Crown Perth chaired by Neville Owen, and an earlier inquiry chaired in New South Wales by another eminent jurist, Patricia Bergin SC, all discussed the money laundering that had gone on via the use of bank accounts as well as physical currency.

A plan to combat cybercrime was endorsed by the ministers present at the meeting and its centrepiece is a framework for cooperation across commonwealth, state and territory governments to deal with the threat of cybercrime.

A part of the plan for greater cooperation is a $30.9 Cybercrime Capability Fund. That funding must be allocated across three years for national law enforcement initiatives that increase the capacity of agencies to deal with the evolving online threats.

Projects for the first year of funding endorsed by the ministers include specialist training activities, software procurement and technical capability development, operational collaboration on cybercrime, and enhanced victim support.


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