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Annual Report 2008-09 Output 2.1

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Criminal justice and crime prevention

Summary

In 2008–09, the Department supported the Government in developing and introducing significant legislative reforms, including amendments to enhance agencies’ ability to combat serious and organised crime, achieving considerable progress in Output 2.1.

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

  • implementing the national response to organised crime
  • canvassing ideas for reform of federal criminal law and procedure
  • overseeing the Federal Audit of Police Capabilities of the Australian Federal Police
  • developing the identification and verification processes to facilitate identity management
  • combating money laundering and terrorism financing
  • making changes to the anti-people trafficking strategy to support victims and families, and
  • participating in the National Roundtable meeting on people trafficking.

Major achievements

Organised crime

The Attorney-General and his State and Territory counterparts agreed a national response to organised crime at the April 2009 meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General. The Attorney-General’s Department is leading implementation of the national response with State and Territory senior officials.

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Serious and Organised Crime) Bill 2009 was introduced into Parliament on 24 June 2009. This Bill implements the Commonwealth’s commitment as part of the national response to enhance legislation to combat organised crime. This Bill will strengthen criminal asset confiscation, enhance police powers to investigate organised crime, address the joint commission of criminal offences and facilitate greater access to telecommunications interception for criminal organisation offences.

Criminal justice forum

The Federal Criminal Justice Forum was held in September 2008. It brought together more than 150 participants and generated a range of ideas for reform of federal criminal law and procedure.

Federal audit of police capabilities

Recognising that the Australian Federal Police (AFP), as the Australian Government’s primary law enforcement agency, is required to meet increasing demands that encompass complex whole-of-government, national and international issues, the Government made an election commitment to conduct a federal audit of police capabilities as part of its five-point plan for the Australian Federal Police. We were responsible for overseeing the audit, which commenced in February 2009 and was led by Mr Roger Beale AO of the Allen Consulting Group. The audit resulted in a broad-ranging report that examined Australian Federal Police capabilities and what will be needed to provide for current and future demands for policing and law enforcement services to the Commonwealth, looking up to five years ahead, in the context of Government priorities.

Identity crime legislation

The Law and Justice Legislation Amendment (Identity Crimes and Other Measures) Bill 2008 was introduced into Parliament on 3 December 2008. It will establish new offences to target identity crime and enable victims to obtain certificates to help them address misuse of their identity information.

National identity security strategy

The Department continued to provide leadership on implementation of the National Identity Security Strategy. A key element of the Strategy—the Document Verification Service (DVS)—was enhanced in 2008–09 with inclusion of electronic visas, birth certificates from New South Wales and Tasmania, and drivers licenses from New South Wales being added to the documents capable of being verified. Many other agencies are preparing to verify their documents by the end of 2009. The New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority began using the Document Verification Service and other States, Territories and Australian Government agencies are working towards upgrading their registration processes through using the Document Verification Service.

Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing conference 2009

The Attorney-General’s Department, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, the Australian Institute of Criminology and the Australian Bankers’ Association co-hosted an Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Conference on 1–2 April 2009 at the Hilton Sydney.

The conference attracted over 280 delegates and provided opportunities for industry engagement on, and an enhanced understanding of, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing issues in Australia. The two-day event included presentations from renowned international and domestic speakers from industry, academia and government.

The Attorney-General, the Hon Robert McClelland MP, opened the conference and confirmed the Government’s commitment to combating the serious crimes of money laundering and terrorism financing. The Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Mr Roger Wilkins AO, delivered a keynote address outlining the Department’s role in developing and implementing policies and laws that effectively combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

The conference was well received with delegates appreciating the opportunity to hear the latest views on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing from across the globe including regulatory, law enforcement, private sector and government perspectives.

Audit of government action plan to combat trafficking in persons

On 29 April 2009 the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) tabled its performance audit report on management of the Australian Government’s action plan to eradicate trafficking in persons. The audit assessed the oversight arrangements of the Government’s anti-people trafficking strategy and whether it is being administered effectively to deliver the intended results.

The audit report made six recommendations; two were directed at the Department in its role as Chair of the Anti-People Trafficking Interdepartmental Committee. It recommended that the interdepartmental committee ensure it is appropriately monitoring the implementation and measuring the success of initiatives under the strategy.

The Department accepted the ANAO’s recommendations and in response tabled the first report of the Anti-People Trafficking Interdepartmental Committee in June 2009.

Enhanced whole-of-government people trafficking strategy

On 14 June 2009 the Minister for Home Affairs along with the Ministers for Immigration and Citizenship, Foreign Affairs, and the Status of Women announced changes to the operation of the anti-people trafficking strategy to provide a more flexible framework of support for victims and their families.

The changes, which will take effect from 1 July 2009, include unlinking visas from victim support and extending the initial period of intensive support for victims from 30 to 45 days. This period of intensive support will be provided to victims regardless of whether they have agreed to help Australian authorities with a people trafficking investigation or prosecution.

National roundtable on people trafficking

On 17 June 2009 the Minister for Home Affairs in partnership with the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and the Minister for the Status of Women, and the Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance hosted the second meeting of the National Roundtable on People Trafficking. The roundtable brings together the government and non-government sectors to implement a whole-of-community approach to combating people trafficking. The meeting focused on trafficking for labour exploitation.

The first meeting of the roundtable in June 2008 led to practical outcomes. These included the launch, in March 2009, of the Guidelines for NGOs Working with Trafficked People, and the development of education resources for judicial officers dealing with trafficking matters. On 15 June 2009 the Judicial College of Australia hosted a seminar for its members focusing on people trafficking cases.

Purchaser/provider arrangements

The Department has executed memoranda of understanding with Centrelink, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for providing government agencies access to verification services for documents used as evidence of identity.

Outlook

The Department will play a more extensive role in drawing together information and intelligence to develop law enforcement policy. This will be achieved through greater engagement with our portfolio agencies. As part of this enhanced role the Department will work with respective agencies to implement the Federal Audit of Police Capabilities recommendations. The Department will continue to work closely with government agencies to expand use of the Document Verification Service in 2009–10 to improve identity verification.

Performance indicators

Table 14: Performance indicators, Output 2.1—Criminal justice and crime prevention

Key performance indicators 2008–09 target Result

Development and implementation of policy and legislation in accordance with Australian Government priorities including measures to combat:

  • precursor chemical diversion and manufacture of illicit drugs
  • firearms diversion
  • organised crime and transnational crime
  • identity crime, and
  • money laundering and terrorism financing.

Bills introduced in accordance with the Australian Government’s legislation program

Achieved

The Law and Justice Legislation Amendment (Identity Crimes and Other Measures) Bill 2008 was introduced into Parliament on 3 December 2008.

Federal victims of crime reforms implemented and national best practice benchmarks settled

Partially achieved

Reform proposals have been developed for Government consideration and national best practice benchmarks are being developed in consultation with States and Territories.

Federal Criminal Law Participative Forum held and contributions factored into reform proposals

Achieved

The Federal Criminal Justice Forum was held in September 2008; 150 people attended. It generated a range of ideas for reform of federal criminal law and procedure.

Proposals for a new federal sentencing and offender management law settled and released for public consultation

Partially achieved

Discussion papers on proposals for a new federal sentencing and offender management law are being developed for Government consideration before public consultation.

Draft legislation reviewed to apply the Government’s policy on offences, civil penalties and enforcement powers, within required timelines in 100% of cases

Achieved

Draft legislation across a range of portfolios was reviewed and advice was provided within required timeframes.

Development of a National Precursor Chemical Control Framework

Partially achieved

The Department has undertaken extensive consultation with government and industry to develop a draft framework, which will be presented to the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy for endorsement later this year.

Development of a National Remediation Framework for Clandestine Laboratories

Partially achieved

The Department is working with the Australian Crime Commission to develop a remediation framework, including exposure standards. This will be completed in late 2009.

Development of a Baseline Study for Alternative Chemicals of Concern

Not achieved

Funding to progress this project could not be secured; alternative funding options are being investigated.

Development of a Regional Situation Report for Precursor Chemical Diversion and Illicit Drug Manufacture and Trafficking

Not achieved

Funding to progress this project could not be secured; alternative funding options are being investigated.

Development of submissions and government response to the Parliamentary Joint Committee—Australian Crime Commission inquiries into organised crime

Achieved

Submission provided to Government.

The Department appeared at a hearing before the Committee. The Parliamentary Joint Committee is yet to hand down a final report.

Development of training and chemical and synthetic drug awareness raising programs for judicial, forensic and customs officers and industry

Achieved

Ten awareness raising forums were held nationally reaching over 1,100 industry representatives.

800 copies of an awareness-raising DVD targeting the judiciary and prosecutors have been distributed nationally.

364 Customs Officers have attended 18 training courses nationally.

40 forensic and investigate officers have attended training courses nationally.

Establishment of enhanced identification and verification processes to combat identity crime

Achieved

Development of a revised whole-of-government people trafficking strategy

Achieved

The revised strategy was announced on 14 June 2009.

Development of amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 in accordance with Australian Government’s priorities

For the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 this was substantially achieved

The Department coordinated several amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 to enhance the operation of the Act. For example amendments were enacted which facilitate reporting to AUSTRAC by regulated businesses.

The Government is reviewing implementation process for the second tranche of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing reforms taking into account current economic conditions.

Establish and manage grants and compensation programs in accordance with applicable legislation and regulations

100% of grants administered in accordance with applicable legislation and regulations

Achieved

Grant programs are administered in accordance with the Government’s requirements for administration of grants and requirements of the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997.

National handgun buyback payments made and administered in accordance with applicable legislation and regulations

Achieved

All payments have been made and administered in accordance with applicable legislation and regulations. The Department is working with States and Territories to finalise outstanding payments.

Secure schools and safer suburbs grants programs—grants made and administered in accordance with applicable legislation and regulations

Achieved

The Department has administered both the Secure Schools and Safer Suburbs programs in accordance with applicable legislation and regulations.

Undertake casework role for matters concerning federal prisoners, international transfer of prisoners and firearms permits

All determinations made within statutory timelines and in accordance with procedural requirements

Achieved for casework role for matters concerning federal prisoners.

Achieved for firearms permits.

Achieved for international transfer of prisoners.

Completed 124 ministerial decisions relating to federal parole (includes decisions made by the delegate).

Eight outgoing and four incoming prisoner transfers were concluded in 2008–09.

 

Administered items Results

National Community Crime Prevention Program

Achieved

The program ended on 30 June 2008 with some projects continuing until 30 June 2011. The Department is continuing to manage approved projects and make payments to individual projects according to milestones specified in the funding agreements.

Budget price: $15.517 million

Actual price: $11.952 million

Payments for membership of international bodies

Achieved

Departmental representatives have attended all relevant meetings of the Financial Action Taskforce on Anti-Money Laundering Counter-Terrorism Funding in 2008–09.

Budget price: $0.106 million

Actual price: Nil

Payments for grants to Australian organisations

Achieved

Funds provided in accordance with approved arrangements.

The Government continues to provide funding of $2 million over four years (2007–08 to 2010–11) to support the work of Crime Stoppers Australia Ltd.

Budget price: $0.501 million

Actual price: $0.500 million

Secure Schools program

Achieved

The Department managed the program in accordance with program guidelines and accountability requirements of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

In 2008–09 the Minister approved 20 grants.

Payments were made against schools meeting milestones as set out in individual funding agreements.

Budget price: $2.625 million

Actual price: $2.525 million

Safer Suburbs program

Substantially achieved

The Safer Suburbs plan was a 2007 election commitment.

In 2008–09, 18 funding agreements were signed; the remaining four are being negotiated.

Budget price: $7.000 million

Actual price: $7.000 million

Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing—information and public awareness campaign

Achieved

The Department developed a range of customer awareness materials to explain the effect of the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws.

Budget price: $3.200 million

Actual price: $0.609 million

 

Special appropriations Results

National Handgun Buyback Act 2003

Substantially achieved

Most payments to the States and Territories have been finalised, and the Department is working with remaining States and Territories to progress outstanding issues.

Budget price: $2.500 million

Actual price: $1.031 million


Our people

Commonwealth Organised Crime Strategic Framework

Hamish Hansford, Law Enforcement Branch, Criminal Justice Division

Hamish Hansford, Law Enforcement Branch,
Criminal Justice Division
.

A road map for responding to organised crime

The cost of organised crime in Australia is in excess of $15 billion annually. Additionally, the community suffers significant social costs including illicit drug addiction, people smuggling, forced prostitution, community violence and fear, and deterioration of the rule of law.

Both the Smith Review of Homeland and Border Security and the Prime Minister’s National Security Statement in late 2008 addressed the need to strengthen and better coordinate Australia’s response to organised crime at the federal level. The Department responded by leading development of the Commonwealth Organised Crime Strategic Framework.

‘This is a challenging project. Within six months, we needed to understand each stakeholder’s core business, examine international best practice, and devise an enhanced way to respond to organised crime,’ explained Hamish Hansford, a member of the Organised Crime Taskforce.

‘It was important to promote the work that different agencies and departments are already doing and to identify key capabilities for improvement.’

‘A major challenge was the knowledge that we are operating in an extremely tight fiscal environment. This propelled innovative thinking on how to use existing capabilities, information and intelligence in the most effective way,’ Hamish said.

The Framework will set the Australian Government’s organised crime agenda for the next two to three years. In practice it means Australia will, for the first time, have a coordinated whole-of-government road map for responding to organised crime. The capabilities and areas identified for further investment will be key priorities for the portfolio over the coming years.

The Framework will be finalised in late 2009 and submitted to the Government for consideration. The Department will lead implementation of the Framework in consultation with other Commonwealth, State and Territory agencies, business and community partners.

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