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Proceeds of crime to be used to fight corruption

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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Proceeds of crime to be used to fight corruption

Minister for Justice Brendan O’Connor today announced that more than $700,000 in confiscated proceeds of crime will be used to fight corruption by developing and implementing Australia’s first National Anti-Corruption Plan.

Australia has a strong record of domestic action to prevent and expose corrupt activity, and is ranked as the 8th most corruption-free nation in the world in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2012.

“However, we must not become complacent,” Mr O’Connor said.

“It’s fitting that money confiscated from criminals will go to further strengthening our robust national anti-corruption measures.

“Corruption in any country threatens security and stability. And in vulnerable regions, it can inhibit development and stunt economic growth. Investment is discouraged and markets are distorted. The result is fewer resources for important community services like schools, hospitals and roads.”

In developing the National Anti-Corruption Plan, the Government will examine evolving corruption threats to Australia’s national interests and ways that all levels of government can reduce corruption risks.

This initiative will involve a thorough review of existing measures at Federal, State and Territory level to ensure that those who engage in corrupt conduct cannot escape justice.

A team will consult relevant authorities in all jurisdictions to build a comprehensive national snapshot of existing anti-corruption measures and agencies and ensure they work together.

“This is a national effort. The review of anti-corruption programs, and subsequent improvements to them, will build on the current work of the Commonwealth, States and Territories which is informing the United Nations’ review of Australia’s implementation of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC),” Mr O’Connor said.

“Through coordination and improving information sharing between Federal and State and Territory agencies, we will enhance our understanding of corrupt activities and thereby form better strategies to stamp them out.”

The money will also be used to support Australia’s engagement with international partners to strengthen cooperation and to address global corruption. For example, the funding will be used to support implementation of the G20 Anti-Corruption Agenda, which will form the subject of a report to G20 leaders in November 2011. Concentrating Australian efforts to combat serious corruption-related transnational crime will support our primary G20 objectives of sustainable and balanced growth, job creation, poverty reduction, food security and political stability.

The funding will be provided out of proceeds of crime confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Media Adviser: Maria Hawthorne 0407 015 986