​​​​​​​
You are here: Skip breadcrumbAttorney-General's Department >> Publications >> Annual reports >> Annual Report 2016-17 >> Strategic Priority 4 - Crime

Strategic Priority 4 - Crime

Previous page Next page

Pursue responses to serious and organised crime and improve community safety

The department provides national leadership in developing regulatory and operational responses to serious and organised crime. To be effective in this role we work closely with stakeholders in government and law enforcement.

We have advanced the government's anti-corruption agenda both internationally and domestically through participation in multiple fora. We also developed and implemented criminal law reforms. A major reform project was completed into the legal frameworks governing child sex offenders. In particular, legislation was passed to prevent people on the Australian National Child Offender Register from possessing a passport and to make it an offence for them to travel overseas without permission.

We managed policy projects including the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme policy, finalising the National Firearms Agreement and launching the National Firearms Amnesty.

We are actively harnessing criminal intelligence information in background checks for people employed in Commonwealth sites where security may be a concern.

Clients and stakeholders surveyed in 2017 expressed good levels of satisfaction and we achieved higher-than-targeted overall results. Survey results indicate 98% of stakeholders and clients were highly satisfied with our effectiveness and 93% agreed work was very efficient. Our interactions with stakeholders ranked very highly with staff professionalism and commitment achieving a 98% satisfaction level (see Table 8).

To benchmark our community impact we look to the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index (Factor 8) and measure performance by the maintenance or improvement of Australia's global position. Factor 8 measures whether the criminal investigation, adjudication and correctional systems are effective and whether the system is impartial, free of corruption and improper influence, and protective of due process and the rights of the accused. The 2016 Index showed an increase in the number of countries listed from 102 to 113. Australia achieved a ranking of 12.

Table 8 : KPI performance statement for Strategic Priority 4: Crime

KPIs Performance criterion(a) Target Result
Community impact Australia’s regional and global position on fundamental rights (Factor 8) in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index measuring how the rule of law is experienced by the public of countries around the world Position 10 (maintain or improve current position) Position 12
Effectiveness in achieving objectives Stakeholder satisfaction with the department’s effectiveness in maintaining the Commonwealth justice system and community safety 80% 98%
Efficiency in meeting goals Criminal justice policy advice, program work and legislative changes Meets all requirements 93%
Professionalism, skills and commitment Stakeholder and client satisfaction with the professionalism and commitment of staff involved in maintaining the Commonwealth criminal justice system and community safety 80% 98%

(a) Performance criterion as per Corporate Plan 2016–17, p. 16 and Portfolio Budget Statements 2016–17, Program 1.2, p. 25 and Program 1.7, p. 28.

The key activities under this strategic priority and associated results are detailed in Table 9.

Table 9 : Activity performance statement for Strategic Priority 4: Crime

Key activity Result
Develop and implement initiatives to respond to the evolving threat of serious and organised crime including facilitating the sharing of criminal intelligence and information ONGOING
Strengthening relations with domestic security agencies and bilateral relations with key nations in the fight against international crime.
Develop and implement reforms in criminal law and transnational crime-related frameworks including anti-corruption, money laundering, firearms, federal offenders and international crime cooperation ACHIEVED
A National Statement of Principles relating to the Criminalisation of the Non-consensual Sharing of Intimate Images was approved and published.
Criminal Code Amendment (Protecting Minors Online) Act 2017 (Cth) commenced.
ONGOING
The Crimes Legislation Amendment (International Crime Cooperation and Other Measures) Bill 2016 was introduced.
Updating the National Firearms Agreement and development of the National Firearms Amnesty.
Passports Legislation Amendment (Overseas Travel by Child Sex Offenders) Bill was introduced and passed by the Parliament.
Lead the development and coordination of policy concerning a national domestic violence order scheme ONGOING
The National Domestic Violence Order Scheme was developed.
Support partner agencies in policy development and implementation in the aviation and maritime sectors ONGOING
The Transport Security Amendment (Serious Crime) Bill 2016 was completed and is before the Parliament.
Deliver grants funding to local councils, schools and other community organisations to improve community safety and reduce crime ONGOING
Funding was provided for initiatives that combat crime and anti-social behaviour.
Represent Australia in relevant international fora and work with regional partner countries to strengthen regional criminal laws, including on people smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering, counter-terrorism financing and transnational organised crime ACHIEVED
The Bali Process policy guide on Following the Money in Trafficking in Persons Cases and associated training modules were endorsed.
ONGOING
Representation included fora in China, South East Asia and the Pacific region.
Efficiently undertake extradition, mutual legal assistance, international prisoner transfers, federal offenders and firearms import casework ONGOING
Casework numbers increased significantly in many areas.

Analysis

Responding to serious and organised crime

We assisted law enforcement agencies in acquiring evidence from overseas jurisdictions in major drugs and counter-terrorism operations. We also strengthened our cooperation with key international counterparts and assisted them in gathering evidence in international criminal matters. We also extradited a significant number of people to face justice and had other offenders arrested in line with extradition proceedings (refer Appendix 4).

We helped law enforcement agencies to better use their large information and criminal intelligence holdings. In addition, intelligence information in background checks was used for people employed in Australian airports and ports, as well as other Commonwealth sites where security may be a concern.

Reforming criminal law and transnational frameworks

The department has continued to develop and implement criminal law reforms in areas including corruption, illicit drugs, international crime cooperation, money laundering and human trafficking.

Child sex offender reforms

During 2016–2017, we embarked on a major new initiative to toughen the legal framework concerning child sex offenders. Child sex offenders with reporting obligations will have greater restrictions and have their passports denied. It is also an offence for them to travel overseas without permission. The Passports Legislation Amendment (Overseas Travel by Child Sex Offenders) Bill was introduced and passed by the Parliament in May 2017. This legislation is the first of its kind and the result of close collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission as well as state and territory governments.

Corruption

We advanced the government’s anti-corruption agenda both internationally and domestically. We do this through multiple international fora including the G20, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. We lead the policy approach to anti‑corruption through the Open Government Partnership and by working with the Australian Federal Police Fraud and Anti‑Corruption Centre.

Illicit drugs

We have collaborated with state and territory agencies to broker a national agreement to harmonise laws on the precursor chemicals and equipment used to manufacture illicit drugs. These reforms support the National Ice Action Strategy that identified stronger controls as one of the key actions to tackle the ice problem in Australia.

International crime cooperation

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (International Crime Cooperation and Other Measures) Bill 2016 was introduced in 2016–17. If passed, amendments will improve Australia’s ability to respond to requests for assistance from foreign countries and international bodies in accordance with international obligations and with appropriate safeguards in place. The amendments provide a streamlined and consistent process for adducing foreign material in Australian proceedings.

We have also continued work to enhance Australia’s legal framework for international crime cooperation, including progressing bilateral treaty-level agreements:

  • Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between Australia and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (entered into force 5 April 2017).
  • Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of India concerning Transfer of Sentenced Persons (entered into force 21 December 2016).
  • Agreement between Australia and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on Extradition (signed on 24 April 2017).
  • Agreement between Australia and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (signed on 24 April 2017).
  • Treaty on Extradition between Australia and the People’s Republic of China (implementing regulations made on 9 February 2017, subsequently repealed on 29 March 2017 and disallowed on 20 June 2017).

Money laundering and counter-terrorism financing

This year we completed a roadmap to implement recommendations of the statutory review of the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regime. The recommendations modernise, strengthen and streamline the regime. Consultation with industry and government on the first set of reforms was finalised and amending legislation is being developed.

A cost-benefit analysis of imposing AML/CTF regulation on certain non-financial businesses and professions that provide services that pose money laundering and terrorism-financing risks was conducted. The outcome of the analysis will inform the government’s decision on future regulations of these sectors.

National Firearms Agreement and the National Firearms Amnesty

In 2017, the National Firearms Agreement was finalised. In collaboration with state and territory counterparts each aspect of the 1996 Agreement, the 2002 National Handgun Agreement and other ministerial agreements was considered. We led the process through several meetings of LCCSC and a meeting of COAG.

We also developed the National Firearms Amnesty and its associated public information campaign. The National Firearms Amnesty is the first nation-wide gun amnesty since 1996. To establish the amnesty we achieved agreements from Australian, state and territory ministers. We successfully managed this process through the Firearms and Weapons Policy Working Group and LCCSC and delivered a high-quality campaign in time for the launch of the amnesty on 1 July 2017.

Review and reform of cybercrime

This year we led the development of the National Statement of Principles relating to the Criminalisation of the Non-consensual Sharing of Intimate Images. This was approved and published by LCCSC in May 2017.

The Criminal Code Amendment (Protecting Minors Online) Act 2017 (Cth) commenced in May 2017. The amended Act introduced a new offence into the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) to protect Australian children in the online environment.

Coordinating a national domestic violence order scheme

During 2016–17, we continued to develop and coordinate the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme policy. The scheme ensures that domestic violence orders (DVOs) issued in one Australian jurisdiction are automatically recognised and enforceable in all others. This is a significant step to improve community safety.

The department is a member of the multi-jurisdictional National Domestic Violence Legislation Working Group that was established to ensure consistent implementation of the scheme across jurisdictions. A national commencement date for the scheme was set by LCCSC for 25 November 2017 (White Ribbon Day). A national communications campaign will support this commencement.

Reviewing aviation and maritime policy

We worked closely with the Office of Transport Security in the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to develop the Transport Security Amendment (Serious Crime) Bill 2016. The Bill enables reforms to the Aviation and Maritime Security Identification Card (ASIC/MSIC) schemes. Implementation of key initiatives has been delayed. However, the department continues supporting partner agencies to facilitate passage of the Serious Crime Bill and implement associated reforms to the ASIC/MSIC schemes.

Funding community safety

We provide grants funding to local councils, schools and other community organisations for local initiatives that improve community safety and reduce crime. During 2016–17, 65 local councils and community organisations benefited from a share in $9.4 million of funding. This allowed them to boost efforts to combat crime and anti-social behaviour.

Representing Australia internationally

We continued to work with regional partner countries to strengthen their criminal laws, including combating people smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering and counter-terrorism financing.

We have participated in bilateral engagements with China, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam to discuss international crime cooperation. In particular, the inaugural High-Level Security Dialogue and Ministerial Level Mechanism on Transnational Crime and Counter Terrorism events with China were held in April and June 2017, respectively. These events reinforced the strong bilateral crime cooperation relationship we have with China; allowing exchanges at the ministerial and senior official levels on legal and judicial issues, transnational crime and related bilateral cooperation.

We also worked multilaterally through fora such as the Bali Process. This helps countries establish strong laws to combat people smuggling, human trafficking and related transnational organised crime, including the ability to follow illicit money trails. We co-chaired a drafting committee to develop the Bali Process policy guide on Following the Money in Trafficking in Persons Cases. The Bali Process Trafficking in Persons Working Group endorsed the guide and associated training module in May 2017.

This year we worked bilaterally with Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Vietnam to train and mentor over 1,000 law and justice officials. We assisted Vietnam to implement reforms to criminal provisions in its Penal Code on transnational crimes. We supported Pakistan to prepare their third round Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering Mutual Evaluation. We continued assistance to Papua New Guinea to implement reforms to its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing framework and worked with AUSTRAC to assist Papua New Guinea develop subsidiary legislation to its proceeds-of-crime legislation. We assisted Vanuatu to address deficiencies in its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing framework and provided training to 20 Ni-Vanuatu law and justice officials on terrorism-financing investigations and international cooperation.

Delivering international crime cooperation casework

In 2016–17, we provided high-quality legal advice to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice as well as Australian and state and territory law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies both here and abroad to facilitate international crime cooperation in the areas of extradition, mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and international transfer of prisoners. A notable spike in the number of casework matters was experienced this year, in particular in the number of mutual assistance requests received from, and made to, foreign countries. This continues a long-running upward trajectory (refer Appendix 4).

We also conducted litigation on behalf of the Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and foreign countries before a range of courts across Australia, including complex matters. The matters clarified the scope and application of extradition legislation and bilateral treaty provisions.

Previous page Next page