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Australia endorses global anti-money laundering standards.
SENATOR THE HON. CHRISTOPHER ELLISON
Minister for Justice and Customs
Senator for Western Australia
E176/03 8 December 2003
Australia endorses global anti-money laundering standards
Australia is to implement new global standards aimed at cracking down on money laundering and terrorist financing, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, announced today.
The Australian financial sector and other industry areas will be consulted as part of the implementation of a range of global anti-money laundering standards issued by the Financial Action Taskforce on Money Laundering (FATF), a 33-member international body of which Australia is a founding member.
Senator Ellison said the Government will now proceed with a fundamental overhaul of Australian legislation, including the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988, which will balance effective regulation and a sensible approach to the impact of the new laws on industry and small business.
The new standards will oblige Australia to expand customer due diligence requirements for financial institutions and extend anti-money laundering obligations to non-financial businesses and professions such as real estate agents, dealers in precious metals and stones, accountants, trust and company service providers, legal professionals and notaries.
“Australia will now commit to implementing FATF’s revised 40 Recommendations which will require a significant review of Australia’s anti-money laundering regime, including some new measures intended to counter terrorist financing,” Senator Ellison said.
“Australian Government agencies will shortly begin a process of consultation and working with industry representatives and small business to design a cost effective anti-money laundering system that will meet international standards while responding to the needs of Australian industry,” Senator Ellison said.
The Attorney-General's Department will coordinate an extensive consultation process which will involve the preparation of industry-specific issues papers and direct consultation with industry sectors. Proposed anti-money laundering legislation will then be released for public comment.
Senator Ellison also announced the establishment of a Ministerial Advisory Group to assist with the development of anti-money laundering measures.
“The involvement of Australian industry in designing an improved anti-money laundering system is crucial in order to develop workable solutions. The adoption of the FATF recommendations is essential if Australia is to maintain its position as a key financial sector player both in the region and globally.
“I have had preliminary discussions with some industry representatives since the FATF released the revised 40 Recommendations, and I look forward to more formal consultation with a wide range of people to ensure Australia remains at the forefront of the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing,” Senator Ellison said.
Additional information on anti-money laundering reform, including the FATF 40 Recommendations and the Government’s consultation process, can be found at www.ag.gov.au/aml
Media Inquiries: Simon Troeth (02) 6277 7260/(0439) 300 335