Elite new strike teams to target organised crime

Department of Home Affairs

Joint media release with the Hon Stuart Robert MP and the Hon Angie Bell MP​

​​​​​​This media release has been redacted in accordance wit​h Digital Transformation Agency guidelines. A full media release may be available at: www.karenandrewsmp.com.au.

The Morrison Government is providing additional funding for new Australian Federal Police (AFP) Organised Crime Strike Teams to keep Australians safe from serious and organised crime, and keep weapons and drugs off our streets.

The Organised Crime Strike Teams will target illicit drug and firearm trafficking, money laundering and other serious crime around Australia. Strike Teams will be established as part of the Morrison Government's $170 million Transnational Serious and Organised Crime package announced in last week's Federal Budget.

Two teams will be established, with one primarily on the Gold Coast targeting transnational, serious and organised crime on the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sydney, while a second will target crime operating out of Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin and Perth.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said the Strike Teams will use world-leading new powers provided by the Morrison Government to put high-risk mafia, triad, and other gang leaders behind bars.

"New research released today reveals that serious and organised crime costs hardworking taxpayers up to $60 billion a year," Minister Andrews said.

"These Strike Teams will smash the criminal networks who import and manufacture illicit drugs, chemicals and firearms, and who launder their ill-gotten gains though law abiding communities. 

"The Strike Teams will work hand-in-glove with the AFP's Criminal Asset Confiscation Taskforce - which also received a $30 million boost in last week's Federal Budget. Together, these initiatives will supercharge our ability to seize criminal assets, liquidate them, and invest the proceeds of crime back into local communities."

The new funding builds on the Morrison Government's strong track record of support for Australia's police and law enforcement agencies.

"Under the Morrison Government, the AFP's funding has increased to $1.7 billion," Minister Andrews said.

"Just last week, we saw the Criminal Code Amendment (Firearms Trafficking) Bill 2022, pass the Parliament, ensuring criminals who traffic firearms face tougher penalties.

"The Bill increased the maximum penalty for firearms trafficking from 10 to 20 years' imprisonment and, under a separate aggravated offence for the most serious of traffickers, offenders will face up to life imprisonment."

Member for Fadden Stuart Robert said cracking down on organised crime is a Morrison Government priority.

"The Morrison Government continues to put record funding into our national security agencies and takes the fight to organised crime in Australia."

Member for Moncrieff Angie Bell welcomed the new local taskforce.

"I'm pleased that there's extra resources being directed to target organised crime, to make our city safer.

"I want local residents and the tourists visiting the Gold Coast to be safe from drug imports and other illicit activity."

Nationally, the weight of all illicit drugs seized increased by 45 per cent last financial year - to 38.5 tonnes - a 314 per cent increase in the weight of all illicit drugs seized nationally over the last decade.

While a new report on crime's cost to our economy, available now on the Australian Institute of Criminology website, found organised crime costs Australia up to $60 billion every year - with $16.5 billion linked to illicit drugs alone - strong law enforcement action - enabled by record funding and new powers secured by the Morrison Government - has seen the consumption of cocaine, methyl amphetamine, MDMA, and heroin decrease by almost five tonnes, or 23 per cent year-on-year - the first decrease in illicit drug consumption recorded in five years.

As part of our plan for a stronger future, the Morrison Government will continue to support Australia's law enforcement agencies.

Note to media: Footage of previous organised crime operations is available here.

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