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Drug money turned back on criminals



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MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS

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SENATOR MICHAEL TATE

31 May 1991

DRUG MONEY TURNED BACK ON CRIMINALS

Money seized from criminals involved in drug trafficking will soon be used to help finance the police operations which lead to their arrest.

And where prosecutions result from joint Federal and State police operations, then the State force will also be able to recover its investment in the investigation.

Details of the operations of the new Confiscated Assets Trust Fund were spelt out today by the Federal Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs, Senator Michael Tate, to State and Territory Police Ministers and Commissioners.

Senator Tate, who chaired today's meeting in Canberra of the Australian Police Ministers Council, said that under the Proceeds of Crime Act up to 30 April $9 million had already been recovered

and another $47 million had been frozen.

He told Australia's top law enforcement officials that the Confiscated Assets Trust Fund would in future be used to direct these seized funds against the drug traffickers.

"It represents a blow at the heart of drug trafficking and other major criminal activity - the profit motive".

Legislation to establish the new scheme was introduced into the House of Representatives last night by the Commonwealth Attorney General, Mr Michael Duffy.

Senator Tate said today that organised crime did not recognise State boundaries.

"To foster a high level of co-operation it is vital to recognise the contribution made by State law agencies, and a share of the confiscated assets will therefore be distributed when they give

assitance".

But Senator Tate said the bulk of the Trust funds would be directed to national law enforcement programs, drug rehabilitation and drug education.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

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Among the national law enforcement agencies to benefit will be the Australian Federal Police, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the Australian Customs Service.

And Senator Tate said that in the drug rehabilitation and education field, seized criminal assets would be targeted at demand reduction and rehabilitation programs for illicit drugs.

"What we will achieve is a fund, made up of the proceeds of crime, going towards the Commonwealth's fight against illicit drugs.

"The Criminals will be helping to pay for the attack on both drug supply and drug demand", the Minister said.

Released by Adrian Wild - (06) 2777260