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Tuesday, 14 October 2003
Page: 21396

Mr McClelland asked the Minister representing the Minister for Justice and Customs, upon notice, on 12 August 2003:

Have the Australian Federal Police and/or AUSTRAC estimated the amount of money that is laundered in Australia every year; if so, what was that estimate and when was that estimate made.

Mr Williams (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) —The Minister for Justice and Customs has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has not estimated the amount of money laundered in Australia. The AFP notes the work of other anti-money laundering bodies which have both the capacity and expertise to undertake the extensive work necessary to develop such estimates. Factors such as whether the money is generated from crime in Australia, or sent to or from another jurisdiction, impact on the estimates. Similarly, not all money is processed through normal financial systems or necessarily sent out of the country, making estimates more difficult to determine.

The most recent work to gauge the quantum of money laundered in Australia occurred in 1995, when AUSTRAC commissioned a report from John Walker Consulting Services entitled “Estimates of the Extent of Money Laundering In & Through Australia”. The AFP provided input to this report. The Walker Report concluded that the extent of money laundering in Australia fell between $1,000 million and $4,500 million per year. The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), at a symposium on money laundering held at the Reserve Bank of Australia in September 2002 provided a breakdown from the Walker Report.

The Australian economy is estimated at being $380 billion per annum

Costs of crime are estimated at between $11 billion and $13 billion per annum

Proceeds of crime are estimated at between $6 billion and $8 billion per annum

Money laundering is estimated at between $1 billion and $4.5 billion per annum.

In 1998 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that “... the estimates of the present scale of money laundering transactions are almost beyond imagination - two to five per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would probably be a consensus range.” According to the IMF, using 1996 statistics this would approximate to between USD$590 billion and USD$1.5 trillion. More recently the World Bank Group declared that at least USD$1 trillion is laundered annually.