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Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Page: 3272


Mrs WICKS (Robertson) (15:07): My question is to the Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity. Will the minister update the House on the measures the government has introduced to combat serious and organised crime since the 2017 budget?

Mr TAYLOR (HumeMinister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security) (15:07): I thank the member for Robertson for her question because she knows that the first priority of this government is to keep Australians safe and secure. She also knows that, in recent decades, criminal syndicates and cyberactors have become more sophisticated than ever before, more international, better organised and more adept at using technology. And the impact of organised crime on the lives of Australians is very real. The ACIC tells us that the cost per year is around $36 billion—that's two per cent of GDP—but, of course, we know that the cost in human suffering in terms of human trafficking, child exploitation and illicit drugs cannot be quantified. We need to be more sophisticated, more international, better coordinated and more adept at using technology than ever before because these criminals are attacking us in our homes, in our businesses, in our communities, on our infrastructure, on our phones and, of course, on our computers. And, of course, that is the rationale for establishing the Home Affairs portfolio—the most significant reform to national security arrangements in this country in 40 years.

Last week, the Minister for Home Affairs and I announced Australia's first transnational serious and organised crime coordinator, Mr Karl Kent, who is a deputy commissioner of the AFP. This coordinator role will deliver a new strategy for disrupting serious and organised crime and oversee the $70 million establishment of the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, which we anticipate will save more than 200 child victims each year.

Better coordination across Home Affairs is already delivering results, and we saw a number of our agencies in recent months working together with our international partners to disrupt the most sophisticated criminal telecommunications network we have ever seen, Phantom Secure. Phantom Secure had more than 10,000 devices being used by criminals in this country, and it was disrupted in recent months through the very good work of our agencies. Reforms to anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism-financing laws, as well as regulation of cryptocurrencies, came into effect last month, and we've seen unprecedented disruption of illicit drugs coming to our borders, including a 1.2-tonne seizure—over $1 billion—of methamphetamines near Geraldton. This government will work tirelessly alongside the fine men and women of our law enforcement and national security agencies to keep Australians safe.