IN July 2018, the Illicit Tobacco Taskforce was established to protect Commonwealth revenue by targeting, disrupting and dismantling organised criminal syndicates that deal in illicit tobacco.

It combines the operational, investigative and intelligence capabilities of the Australian Border Force and a number of government departments and agencies.

At the border, the ITTF has been responsible for the detection of more than 195 million cigarettes and 65 tonnes of loose-leaf tobacco – worth over $228m in evaded duty.

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Over 41 tonnes of domestically grown tobacco has also been seized and destroyed by the ATO in four joint operations across Australia since the Taskforce was established. These operations have an estimated evaded excise value of $42m.

The largest detection the ITTF saw for the year was a nine-tonne detection at the ABF Container Examination Facility in Sydney, where more than 11.5m cigarettes, falsely declared as toilet paper, were seized. This equated to over $10m in evaded duty.

Commander ABF Special Investigations, Susan Black praised the ITTF for its hard work and significant results.

“As the lead of the ITTF the ABF have set a high standard for how a successful and coordinated, whole-of-government taskforce can operate,” Commander Black said.

“Bringing together the resources of the ABF, Home Affairs, ATO, ACIC, AUSTRAC and CDPP means we can tackle black market trade on multiple fronts.”

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