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Annual Report 2007-08 Output 2.1

Policy advice on, and program administration and regulatory activities associated with, the Commonwealth’s domestic and international responsibilities for criminal justice and crime prevention

Summary

In 2007–08, the Criminal Justice Division responsible for Output 2.1, supported the Government in the development and passage of significant legislative reforms, including procedural amendments to the framework for the exercise of Australian Crime Commission information-gathering powers.

The Division provided legislative advice, policy advice and program administration on issues such as:

  • anti-people trafficking and anti-corruption measures
  • international anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing
  • the Government’s response to the report of the Inquiry into certain Australian companies in relation to the UN Oil-for-Food Programme (Cole Inquiry)
  • reforms to combat bribery and terrorism financing
  • identification and verification processes to prevent identity crime
  • coordination of strategic firearms policy and regulatory initiatives
  • Australian and regional responses to the threat of illicit drugs, including diversion of precursor chemicals to illicit drug manufacture.

We continued to work closely with States and Territories to progress issues of national significance, including model identity crime offences and an action plan to pursue regulatory approval for the use of mobile telephone jamming devices in State and Territory correctional facilities.

We also continued to support the Government in processing casework decisions on matters such as the international transfer of prisoners, federal offender parole, early release and pardon and matters under the Crimes (Superannuation Benefits) Act 1989.

The Division responded to the Government’s election commitments by establishing the Safer Suburbs plan and commencing arrangements for the Secure Schools Program.

Major achievements

Identity security

The Division continued to develop and implement the National Identity Security Strategy. The Strategy, underpinned by an intergovernmental agreement, provides a cross-jurisdictional, whole-of-government approach to identity security through a more robust identity management framework. A key element of the strategy is the national Document Verification Service (DVS). The DVS is currently available to verify data on Australian passports, citizenship certificates and paper-based visas. Negotiations continue with the States and Territories to facilitate their participation in the DVS.

Firearms

The Division managed national consideration of options to improve the management of firearms tracking in Australia, such as a national firearms management system. Police ministers will consider the options at a meeting to be held in November 2008.

Illicit drugs

The Division continued to promote a stronger international collaborative response to the threat of illicit drugs, including amphetamine-type stimulants, in the Asia–Pacific region through the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum. It also chaired the South Pacific Precursor Control Forum and the Asian Collaborative Group on Local Precursor Control to develop practical measures to counter chemical diversion and synthetic drug trafficking.

Domestically, we continued to pursue important initiatives under the National Strategy to Prevent the Diversion of Precursor Chemicals into Illicit Drug Manufacture. Key outcomes included:

  • operational implementation of the National Clandestine Laboratory Database through the Australian Crime Commission to assist drug investigations by allowing the identification and analysis of key clandestine laboratory data, including trends, manufacturing methods, chemical diversion methods, concealment and persons of interest
  • national awareness raising in the chemical and apparatus industry about diversion of precursor chemicals, and
  • national rollout of Project STOP, a centralised pharmacy database system, to pharmacies across Australia to enhance the ability of pharmacists to identify suspicious requests for medications containing pseudoephedrine, and to provide intelligence to police and health agencies.

Legislation

The Division provided support to the Australian Government through the development of proposals enacted as the Australian Crime Commission Amendment Act 2007 and assisted the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Crime Commission in its inquiry into those amendments.

The Division supported the introduction into Parliament of the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Child Sex Tourism Offences and Related Measures) Bill 2007, which enhanced and modernised child sex tourism and related offences. The Bill was still before Parliament when Parliament was prorogued.

The Division supported the development and passage of the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Matters) Act 2008. This Act updated criminal laws applicable to flights to, from and within Australia, and postponed the statutory review of the National Criminal Investigation DNA Database to late 2009, to take better account of experience in interjurisdictional DNA matching since 2007, among other measures.

We advised other portfolios on the framing of offences, civil penalties and enforcement powers. For example, we advised on the framing of enforcement mechanisms in the National Fuelwatch (Empowering Consumers) Bill 2008. We also helped the Government prepare and table a response to the December 2006 report Entry and search provisions in Commonwealth legislation (the Entry Powers Report) of the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills.

Identity crime

The Division played a central role in the work of the multijurisdictional Model Criminal Law Officers’ Committee, which finalised a report on identity crime that was approved and released by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General in March 2008. The report recommended that all jurisdictions enact new offences targeted at misuse of identities for criminal purposes and make preparations for such offences. It also recommended a mechanism for victims of identity theft to secure a certificate from a court to help establish their credit positions.

Mobile phone jamming

The Division worked with representatives of the Corrective Services Administrators’ Council and the Australian Communications and Media Authority to formulate an action plan to seek regulatory approval for the use of mobile phone jammers in Australian correctional centres. The action plan has been endorsed by the Corrective Services Ministers Council.

International transfer of prisoners

During the year, 15 outgoing and two incoming prisoner transfers were concluded. Prisoners were transferred from Australia to Canada, France, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. Prisoners were transferred to Australia from Hong Kong and Thailand. The international transfer of prisoners scheme supports the rehabilitation of prisoners and their reintegration into the community by ensuring that they are supervised while in custody and upon release and have access to programs and family and social networks (see also reference under Social Equity in Part 3 of this Report).

People trafficking

We organised the National Roundtable on People Trafficking, convened by the Minister for Home Affairs. Participants included representatives from government and non-government organisations, as well as the legal, employer and union sectors. The Roundtable provided a forum for consultation on government policy on people trafficking and an opportunity to exchange ideas, as well to discuss current and emerging issues.

As part of the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking Forum, held in Vienna in February, Australia and Indonesia jointly hosted a side event promoting the regional efforts of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime.

Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing

Work continued on the second tranche of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing reforms, which will extend the legislative regime to cover specified business services. Draft amendments to extend the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 to a broader range of businesses were released for public comment. The amendments will ensure that Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing framework complies with international standards set by the international Financial Action Task Force.

Anti-corruption

The Division completed the response to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions (WGB) on Australia’s implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The response, which involved more than 20 Australian Government agencies, was presented to the OECD in June 2008 and demonstrated Australia’s continuing commitment to fighting corruption and bribery in Australia.

Targeted public awareness campaigns were conducted about the offence of bribing foreign public officials and on the new laws to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

Proceeds of crime grants

A further round of non-government grants was awarded under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. A total of eight grants, at a value of around $4 million, were awarded by the then Minister for Justice and Customs in October 2007. To date, $13.2 million has been awarded to non-government organisations from proceeds of crime funding.

Three Australian Government organisations also received proceeds of crime funding totalling $2.675 million for law enforcement and crime prevention.

National Community Crime Prevention Programme

The fifth and final round of National Community Crime Prevention Programme (NCCPP) grants were awarded by the then Minister for Justice and Customs in September 2007.

Safer Suburbs plan

Funding commenced under the $15 million Safer Suburbs plan, a 2007 election commitment. The plan aims to address crime and antisocial behaviour by funding important community safety measures, including closed-circuit television systems and street lighting. The Division invited States and Territories, local governments and non-government organisations to submit a proposal for funding under the plan. We then assessed each submission and made recommendations to the Minister.

Secure Schools Program

Arrangements commenced for implementation of the $20 million Secure Schools Program, a 2007 election commitment.

Evaluations and reviews

Review of the National Community Crime Prevention Programme

The review of the NCCPP, which the Australian Institute of Criminology undertook in December 2007, was designed to inform government decisions about possible further investment in crime prevention. It also examined the Department’s administrative processes and procedures in keeping with the requirements of the Department of Finance and Deregulation.

The review found that the NCCPP was well administered by the Department and valued by the community.

Review of the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997

The review of the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997 is designed to improve and update the legislative framework to provide a clear structure and process to facilitate the transfer of prisoners to and from Australia. Our work on this initiative in 2007–08 will continue in 2008–09.

Outlook

In 2008–09, the Division will continue to:

  • implement Stages 2 and 3 of the DVS
  • work with police ministers to improve firearms tracking management
  • work with government partners to implement the UN Convention Against Corruption and strengthen the resilience of Australian public institutions
  • develop and progress legislative proposals for supporting victims of federal offences, for revising and updating offences in relation to child sex tourism and online grooming of minors by sex offenders, and for implementing model national investigatory powers, and
  • manage projects funded under the NCCPP.

We will work closely with States and Territories to advance draft national best practice benchmarks for victims, policy proposals for national model spent convictions legislation and proposed model offences for unlawful genetic testing.

We will also finish drafting the second tranche of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing reforms and release an exposure draft.

In early 2008–09, we will prepare for the Federal Criminal Justice Forum to be hosted by the Minister in Canberra in September 2008. The forum, and associated roundtables in some State capital cities, will bring together academics, lawyers, community groups, police and others to discuss the way forward for federal criminal law and procedure.

We will promote stronger responses to address amphetamine-type stimulants manufacture and trafficking by developing a National Framework for the Control of Precursor Chemicals and Equipment and a National Clandestine Laboratory Remediation Framework for endorsement by the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy. Internationally, we will continue to promote stronger collaboration on synthetic drug issues, particularly through the Asian Collaborative Group on Local Precursor Control, the South Pacific Precursor Control Forum and the ministerial segment of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to be held in February 2009.

Performance indicators
Quantitative and qualitative

Output 2.1

Policy advice on, and program administration and regulatory activities associated with, the Commonwealth’s domestic and international responsibilities for criminal justice and crime prevention

Activity

Performance indicator

Result

Policy advice provided to ministers Quantity   2006–07 2007–08
Submissions to ministers 1,269 794
Cabinet submissions 4
Ministerial correspondence* 1,695 1,996
Responses to questions on notice 8 4
Briefs 480 314
Speeches 24 14
Quality Advice to ministers provided within agreed timeframes Achieved
Extent of satisfaction of ministers as measured by periodic feedback from ministers and their offices Highly satisfied
Advice provided to other agencies Quantity   2006–07 2007–08
Items of legal/policy/operational advice 430 796
Quality Advice provided within agreed timelines Achieved

Especially cooperative in coordinating timely and helpful exchanges of information.
Advice provided is respected by client agencies, as measured by periodic feedback Achieved

Stakeholders indicated they are highly satisfied with service level.

Provided prompt and comprehensive assistance and advice.
Meeting the Government’s criminal justice legislation requirements Quantity   2006–07 2007–08
Number of Bills introduced and Acts passed in reporting period:
Bills 6 5
(2 jointly with another portfolio)
Acts 5 5
(2 jointly with another portfolio)
Quality Extent of satisfaction of ministers as measured by periodic feedback from ministers and their offices Highly satisfied
Conduct of statutory and non-statutory reviews of criminal justice legislation and policy Quantity   2006–07 2007–08
Reviews completed or in progress during the reporting period:
– Completed 2 1
– In progress 3 1
Quality Completion of reviews within statutory or government-imposed timeframes Achieved
Steps taken to implement the recommendations of finalised reviews (where applicable) Achieved
Progress made on reviews during reporting period Achieved
Extent of satisfaction of ministers as measured by periodic feedback from ministers and their offices Highly satisfied
Supporting the needs of ministers with portfolio responsibility for the federal criminal justice system Quality Extent of satisfaction of ministers as measured by periodic feedback from ministers and their offices Highly satisfied
Administration and regulatory activities associated with the Commonwealth’s domestic and international responsibilities for criminal justice in the areas of:
– international transfer of prisoners – offender management – firearms import permits and embryo export permits
Quantity   2006–07 2007–08
Identified actions undertaken:
– Embryo export approvals 12 n/a
Responsibility for embryo exports was transferred to the Therapeutic Goods Administration in 2007.
– Firearms import approvals 140 168
– Prisoners transferred 14 17
– Ministerial decisions relating to federal sentencing administration (includes decisions made by the delegate) 147 171
(including decisions about breach of parole)
  Quality Effectiveness (description of any relevant matters that have impacted on effectiveness during the reporting period—for example, introduction of new case management techniques) Achieved
Advancing and protecting Australia’s criminal justice interests through international engagement including participation in international bodies and negotiation of treaties and other international arrangements Quantity   2006–07 2007–08
International agreements concluded during the reporting period 0 0
Bodies in which the Department has taken an active role during the reporting period
  • Advisory Policy Committee of the International Centre for Crime Prevention
  • Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) and OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific
  • Asian Collaborative Group on Local Precursor Control
  • ASEAN Regional Forum
  • Commission on Narcotic Drugs
  • Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention Against Corruption
  • Financial Action Task Force
  • OECD WGB
  • Senior Officials of Law Ministries
  • South Pacific Precursor Control Forum
  • UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
  • UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking
  • World Health Organization Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products
Advancing and protecting Australia’s criminal justice interests through international engagement including participation in international bodies and negotiation of treaties and other international arrangements
(continued)
Quantity International meetings attended
  • First session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco (February 2008, Geneva, Switzerland).
  • Asian Collaborative Group on Local Precursor Control (September 2007, Hobart, Australia, and February 2008, Tokyo, Japan).
  • South Pacific Precursor Control Forum (August 2007, Auckland, New Zealand).
  • ASEAN Regional Forum Seminar on Narcotics Control (September 2007, Xi’an, China).
  • ASEAN Regional Forum, Intersessional Meeting on Transnational Crime and Counter Terrorism (February 2008, Semarang, Indonesia).
  • ASEAN Regional Forum, Senior Officials’ Meeting (May 2008, Singapore).
  • Commission on Narcotic Drugs, 51st Session, (March 2008, Vienna, Austria).
  • Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Supply Reduction Working Group (June 2008, Vienna, Austria).
  • US Drug Enforcement Agency, National Conference on Drug and Chemical Diversion (June 2008, Charleston, USA).
  • Quarterly meetings of the OECD WGB at the OECD headquarters (October 2007, December 2008, February 2008, June 2008, Paris, France).
  • Tri-annual meetings of the Financial Action Task Force at the OECD headquarters (October 2007, Paris, France; February 2008, Paris, France; June 2008, London, UK).
  • 11th Steering Committee meeting for the ADB/OECD Anti Corruption Initiative (May 2008, Manila, Philippines).
  • Senior Officials of Law Ministries (October 2007, London, UK).
  • UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking meetings (February 2008, Vienna, Austria, and October 2007, Bangkok, Thailand).
  • UN Convention Against Corruption Conference of State Parties (January–February 2008, Bali, Indonesia).
  • UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (April 2008, Vienna, Austria).
  • World Health Organization Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (February 2008, Geneva, Switzerland).
  Quality Key achievements in international forums The Division ensured that Australia’s position was represented in the international forums listed prior.

Completion and presentation of Australia’s response to the 2006 OECD WGB report on Australia’s implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.
Administration of the confiscated assets account under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 Quantity   2006–07 2007–08
Total amount of payments under the Proceeds of Crime Act:
– Minister approved for s 298 programs $18,578,536 $452,000
– Total ITSA payments under s 298 $12,355,536 $6,675,000
– s 298 payments approved for 2008–09 0
Quality Measures in place to ensure money is spent within guidelines attached to the program Achieved

12 government and 6 NGO projects completed.

36 proceeds of crime projects were under administration as at 30 June 2008.
Acquittal of payments (number of projects completed in accordance with guidelines and number of projects completed within required timeframes) Achieved

Key:
n/a not applicable

* The number of ministerials relates to the number of actions in relation to ministerial correspondence.

† Briefs include papers on current issues, possible parliamentary questions (new and updated) and meeting briefs.

‡ The number of advices provided by output have been derived from the Department’s annual workload survey and represent a snapshot obtained by aggregating data from four separate one-week periods—two from parliamentary sitting periods and two from non-sitting periods.

Performance information for Output 2.1—administered items

Administered item

Performance indicator

Result

National Community Crime Prevention Programme Quantity   2006–07 2007–08
Number of grants made during the reporting period:
– NCCPP 155 70
– Small Grants Program n/a 417
Applications processed:
– NCCPP 700 348
– Small Grants Program n/a 446
Projects administered:
– NCCPP 223 289
– Small Grants Program n/a 417
Quality Description of measures in place to ensure money is spent within the guidelines attached to the program NCCPP grants were advertised nationally. Applications were assessed against published guidelines by an advisory group that included representatives from government and non-government agencies. The then Minister for Justice and Customs made the final decision on the award of grants, taking into consideration advisory group recommendations.

Multi-year grants are subject to the Australian Government’s requirements for the administration of discretionary grants. Individual funding agreements are negotiated for each grant.
Acquittal of grants (number of grants completed in accordance with guidelines and number of grants completed within required timeframes) 22 NCCPP projects were completed in 2007–08 and 2 were withdrawn.

227 Small Grants projects were completed in 2007–08.
Budget price: $22.999 million Actual price: $18.073 million
Payments for grants to Australian organisations Quality Funds provided in accordance with approved arrangements Achieved

Crime Stoppers Australia Ltd (CSA) is the national representative body of the eight State and Territory-based Crime Stoppers organisations. It aims to deliver strategic direction, national coordination of State and Territory-based initiatives, facilitation of networking and national advice on good practice in crime prevention.

The Australian Government is providing funding of $2 million over 4 years from 2007–08 until 2010–11 to support the work of CSA. This will enable CSA to continue its positive results through support of State and Territory Crime Stoppers programs and to further develop its national strategic function, and its investigatory and advisory roles.
Budget price: $0.502 million Actual price: $0.500 million
Payments for membership of international bodies Quality Funds provided in accordance with approved arrangements Achieved

Membership of the Financial Action Task Force.
Budget price: $0.089 million Actual price: $0.083 million
National Handgun Buyback Act 2003 Quality Expenditure in accordance with legislation Achieved

Total expenditure includes business compensation payments, National Handgun Buyback Support System funding and legal fees.
Budget price: $6.457 million Actual price: $4.447 million
Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing—information and public awareness Quality Expenditure in accordance with agreed arrangements Partially achieved

The 2007–08 campaign budget was $800,000. However, as the campaign proper did not come to fruition due to the federal election caretaker period and subsequent change of government, campaign funding was scaled down to $230,000. This figure covered the costs associated with the continuation of low-level communications activities in 2007–08. The Criminal Justice Division offered the remaining funds as savings to the Department.
Budget price: $8.300 million Actual price: $0.152 million
Safer Suburbs plan Quality Measures in place to ensure money is expended in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and Australian Government policy. The Safer Suburbs plan was a 2007 election commitment. Applications are assessed according to the requirements of the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997 and are approved by the Minister, taking into account departmental recommendations.

In 2007–08, 2 funding agreements were signed and a further 8 were being negotiated.

Grants are subject to the Australian Government’s requirements for the administration of discretionary grants. Individual funding agreements are negotiated for each grant.

Projects commenced in June 2008.
Budget price: $1.500 million Actual price: $1.500 million

Key:
n/a not applicable


Our people

Enabling the use of DNA to identify perpetrators of crime

Lucy Carrigy-Ryan, CrimTrac (left) and Julie-Anne Berry, Criminal Justice Division.

Lucy Carrigy-Ryan, CrimTrac (left) and
Julie-Anne Berry, Criminal Justice Division.

Julie-Anne Berry, a Senior Legal Officer in the Criminal Law Branch, enjoys a challenge. For the past year her role has been about taking differing views and finding mutually beneficial outcomes when it comes to the sharing of DNA material and identifying the perpetrators of crime across Australia.

In August 2007, a Commonwealth, State and Territory Forum was established, to facilitate collaboration on issues concerning the National Criminal Investigation DNA Database (NCIDD). The Criminal Law Branch worked with CrimTrac to establish the Forum and help make it a success.

The central purpose of the Forum is to bring together police and justice officials from nine jurisdictions across Australia to identify and discuss policy issues that arise from the use of the DNA database nationally and consider operational initiatives to improve the system.

Co-chaired by Ben McDevitt, the Chief Executive Officer of CrimTrac, and Karl Alderson, Assistant Secretary, Criminal Law Branch, the Forum convened for the first time in October 2007, and again in May 2008.

‘These meetings have strengthened the relationships between the different agencies in the Commonwealth, States and Territories that have a stake in NCIDD, by improving communication and understanding of each jurisdiction’s objectives and concerns,’ Julie-Anne, who acted as the liaison officer for the stakeholders, explained.

‘This Forum has contributed to the effective operation of the national DNA database. Having these discussions in an open environment has helped avoid the potential for misunderstandings and inconsistent actions that can easily arise between different agencies across the
nine jurisdictions.’

The Forum will continue to meet biannually, to promote discussion and interaction between the various legal, policy and operational stakeholders from each jurisdiction.