THE new Illicit Tobacco Taskforce is to target the $600m black market for illicit tobacco products.
The taskforce is to combine the capabilities of the Australian Border Force (ABF), Department of Home Affairs, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton said the ABF-led taskforce would be pro-actively targeting, disrupting and dismantling illicit tobacco syndicates.
“We know this is a market dominated by organised crime groups who use their profits to fund more serious and insidious crimes that pose a threat to the Australian community,” Mr Dutton said.
“By bringing together our Home Affairs agencies, with the ATO and CDPP we can better target the suppliers, the couriers and the ringleaders whether here or overseas.”
Revenue and Financial Services minister Kelly O’Dwyer said about $600m in tobacco duty was forgone in 2015-16 due to the illicit tobacco market.
“The ATO has already achieved strong results in disrupting the illicit tobacco market but there is more to do,” she said.
“The Taskforce will further enhance the ATO’s ability to work with the ABF and other agencies to bring those criminals who seek to profit from the illegal tobacco trade to justice and return revenue to the Australian people.”