AUSTRAC has published the following information on its website in order to fulfil Part 2 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), which requires Australian Government agencies subject to the Act to establish an IPS.
The IPS commenced on 1 May 2011 and requires AUSTRAC to publish a broad range of information on its website, and to make that information available for downloading where possible.
AUSTRAC has prepared an agency IPS plan as required by section 8(1) of the FOI Act. AUSTRAC's IPS plan explains how the agency developed and implemented its IPS, and intends to maintain the IPS in the future.
Who we are
AUSTRAC is Australia's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regulator and specialist financial intelligence unit (FIU). AUSTRAC was established in 1989 under the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (FTR Act) as a statutory authority within the Attorney-General's portfolio and is continued in existence by section 209 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act).
Refer to the 'Latest information' section of AUSTRAC's main webpage for the latest updates on AUSTRAC.
Agency organisation structure
Follow this link for information about AUSTRAC's Executive Committee and organisational structure.
The AUSTRAC Chief Executive Officer (AUSTRAC CEO) is appointed under sections 211 and 214 of the AML/CTF Act. AUSTRAC's CEO, Mr John L Schmidt, was appointed on 17 September 2009. Section 214 of the AML/CTF Act states that:
- The AUSTRAC CEO is to be appointed by the Minister by written instrument.
- The AUSTRAC CEO is to be appointed on a full-time basis.
- The AUSTRAC CEO holds office for the period specified in the instrument of appointment. The period must not exceed 5 years.
What we do
Functions and powers
The AUSTRAC CEO reports to the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice on the operations of the agency, which support the functions of the CEO under the FTR Act and AML/CTF Act.
In its regulatory role, AUSTRAC oversees compliance with the requirements of the AML/CTF Act and FTR Act by a wide range of financial services providers, bullion sellers, designated remittance service providers, the gambling industry and other specified reporting entities, as well as cash dealers (as defined under the FTR Act). Businesses are required to undertake customer identification, reporting, record keeping and other obligations under the AML/CTF Act.
Where AUSTRAC detects cases of non-compliance by a regulated entity, it may take appropriate and measured enforcement action to secure that entity's compliance. AUSTRAC has a range of enforcement powers at its disposal, including issuing notices compelling businesses to provide information to the agency, and directing businesses to undertake a risk assessment or external audit.
AUSTRAC can also issue remedial directions, accept enforceable undertakings, and apply to the Federal Court for injunctions or civil penalty orders. The maximum civil penalty for a body corporate under the AML/CTF Act is $11 million and the maximum civil penalty for an individual is $2.2 million. Criminal sanctions can also apply for non-compliance.
In its intelligence role, AUSTRAC collects, analyses and disseminates financial intelligence obtained through financial transaction reports to its various partner agencies, as well as international counterparts. AUSTRAC's domestic partners include Australian Government law enforcement, national security, revenue, regulatory and human services agencies, as well as state and territory law enforcement and revenue agencies.
The FOI Act requires that agencies publish 'operational information' as part of their IPS. Section 8A(1) of the FOI Act defines operational information as 'information held by the agency to assist the agency to perform or exercise the agency's functions or powers in making decisions or recommendations affecting members of the public (or any particular person or entity, or class of persons or entities).' AUSTRAC does not publish 'operational information' that is prohibited from release under an enactment.
AUSTRAC publishes the following categories of operational information on its website:
AUSTRAC's AML/CTF compliance guides are designed to assist reporting entities in particular industries to understand and meet their obligations under the AML/CTF Act.
In accordance with the Privacy Commissioner's data matching guidelines ('The use of data matching in Commonwealth Administration-Guidelines'), the AUSTRAC Generic Program Protocol describes the security safeguards the agency has in place to protect data in the AUSTRAC database.
AUSTRAC's guidance notes contain information about certain provisions of the AML/CTF Act and AML/CTF Rules, to provide assistance to reporting entities in meeting their obligations.
AUSTRAC Guidelines contain information related to aspects of the FTR Act and cover aspects of the reporting requirements for 'cash dealers' under that Act.
AUSTRAC information circulars address general issues relevant to regulated entities.
AUSTRAC's policies give reporting entities further insights into AUSTRAC's approach to its functions.
AUSTRAC's supervisory framework states AUSTRAC's guiding principles, specifies its statutory objectives and outlines its approach to its relationships with other Australian regulators.
AUSTRAC's PLIs convey the agency's view on the legal meaning and effect of various provisions of legislation administered by AUSTRAC.
The AUSTRAC Regulatory Guide provides an insight into AUSTRAC's approach to compliance with the AML/CTF legislation and refers to additional AML/CTF resources which may be of assistance to regulated entities.
The AUSTRAC Annual Regulatory Plan outlines draft and proposed AML/CTF Rules published for comment and consultation.
AUSTRAC's strategies outline how the agency's key areas are directing their efforts during the current year, and beyond.
Our reports and responses to Parliament
Information we routinely provide to the Parliament
In accordance with Senate Continuing Order No. 8, a list of relevant new files created by AUSTRAC is made available on our website and updated twice a year.
Senate Order No. 9 requires AUSTRAC to publish a list of all contracts we have entered into to the value of $100,000 or more. Refer to the 'Multi-use list' page on the AUSTRAC website for more information about AUSTRAC's contracts, and to access a list of all contracts AUSTRAC has entered into to the value of $100,000 or more.
Advertising/Public Information Projects ($100,000 or more)
AUSTRAC does not have any current advertising/public information projects of $100,000 or more.
Information requested by Parliament through a Committee
AUSTRAC has not received any orders or requests for information from the Parliament. However, AUSTRAC routinely provides submissions to Parliamentary Committees and government departments, and appears at Senate Estimates hearings:
Listed below are recent submissions made by AUSTRAC, with links to the relevant external website:
Inquiries by Parliamentary Committees
In 23 March 2012 AUSTRAC officers gave evidence at an inquiry by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement into the integrity of overseas Commonwealth law enforcement operations:
AUSTRAC officers may be asked to appear before Senate Estimates hearings, which are held three times per year. AUSTRAC falls under the portfolio of the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
Hansard transcripts of AUSTRAC's Senate Estimates appearances are available on the Parliament of Australia website. Links to recent transcripts are listed below:
AUSTRAC annual reports
AUSTRAC's annual reports are published on the AUSTRAC website.
Routinely requested information and disclosure log
AUSTRAC is required by the FOI Act to publish information in documents to which it routinely gives access in response to FOI requests. AUSTRAC is also required, under section 11C of the Act, to publish a disclosure log, containing information in documents to which the agency has provided access under the FOI Act.
The IPS requires AUSTRAC to publish details of arrangements for members of the public to comment on specific policy proposals for which the agency is responsible, including how (and to whom) those comments may be made. AUSTRAC has in place a range of public consultation arrangements:
Most AML/CTF Rules published by AUSTRAC are initially released in draft form for public comment. Draft AML/CTF Rules, and details of how and to whom members of the public can comment on the Rules, are published on the AUSTRAC website.
Where appropriate, AUSTRAC publishes draft guidance notes on its website for public comment.
AUSTRAC released for public consultation an exposure draft of the Cost Recovery Impact Statement (CRIS) for the 2012-13 financial year. The draft document outlines AUSTRAC's supervisory levy model and charging structure.
AUSTRAC consulted extensively with industry prior to the introduction of a cost recovery regime to pay for the cost of AUSTRAC's regulatory activities. Details about consultation on the introduction of cost recovery and the amount of the 2011-12 supervisory levy can be found on the AUSTRAC website.
The AUSTRAC Industry Consultative Forums provide an opportunity for the AUSTRAC CEO to consult with reporting entities or their representatives. The forums consist of the Financial Consultative Forum, the Gambling Consultative Forum and the Major Reporters Forum.
Privacy Consultative Committee
The AUSTRAC Privacy Consultative Committee comprises representatives of privacy, civil liberties and consumer groups, and usually holds two meetings each year.
Public representation on the Privacy Consultative Committee is provided by representatives of Liberty Victoria, the Australian Privacy Foundation and the Australian Consumers' Association.
The membership also includes representatives from AUSTRAC's partner agencies and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Officers from the Attorney-General's Department attend as observers.
The agency's strategy documents, covering the agency's key functions, outline the specific priorities for these key areas for the current year and beyond
AUSTRAC's Freedom of Information Act webpage contains details about who to contact about access to the agency's information or documents under the FOI Act.
Comments and feedback about AUSTRAC's IPS, or the agency's IPS plan, can be sent to AUSTRAC either by post or email to:
Freedom of Information Officer
3-5 National Circuit
BARTON ACT 2600
Ph: 02 6120 2631
Fax: 02 6120 2601
NOTE: The AUSTRAC IPS contains links to some documents that are currently only available to download in a Portable Document Format (PDF). For more information on requesting an alternative format please visit the accessibility page of the AUSTRAC website.