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Thursday, 13 November 2008
Page: 43

Senator McLUCAS (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing) (1:23 PM) —I thank senators for their contributions to the debate on this bill. The Financial Transaction Reports Amendment (Transitional Arrangements) Bill 2008 contains several amendments to ensure that businesses can continue to report to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, otherwise known as AUSTRAC, as they work toward compliance with the new reporting obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006.

It is important to understand that the amendments will not create any duplication in reporting obligations, as Australia’s specialist financial intelligence unit, AUSTRAC, collects and analyses financial transaction reports and currently receives around 69,000 reports in relation to suspicious transactions and other transactions per day. AUSTRAC provides assistance to law enforcement and national security agencies in identifying and investigating criminal and terrorist enterprises.

In summary, the bill contains several amendments to the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 which will assist businesses to make the transition from regulation under that act to regulation under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006. By passing this bill, the Australian government will ensure that AUSTRAC’s intelligence-gathering role is not hindered during the transitional period. The bill preserves the integrity of the reporting regime and supports the work of AUSTRAC. This government is committed to combating money-laundering and terrorism financing. I commend the bill to the chamber.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.