Media policy

The organisation

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is Australia's financial intelligence unit with regulatory responsibility for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing.

AUSTRAC is Australia's primary source for financial intelligence used to fight serious and organised crime and terrorism financing.

To collect quality data, AUSTRAC oversees the compliance of more than 14,000 Australian businesses ranging from major banks and casinos to single-operator businesses, providing more than 70 designated services in five key sectors:

  • financial services
  • gambling
  • bullion dealers
  • remittance service providers
  • cash dealers.

AUSTRAC's domestic partners include Australian Government law enforcement, national security, revenue, regulatory and social justice agencies, as well as state and territory law enforcement and revenue agencies. Our partner agencies and international counterparts use AUSTRAC information in their investigations into a range of criminal activities, including money laundering, fraud, drug offences and tax evasion.

Media relations service

AUSTRAC's media relations service operates during business hours through the Media and Communications team.

The service aims to manage media enquiries as promptly and thoroughly as possible. As with many government agencies, emailed media queries are preferred.  Journalists are asked to include:

  • contact details
  • outlet represented
  • deadline
  • details of the request.

Contact Media and Communications:

In responding to media enquiries, AUSTRAC may provide broad information about the agency's intelligence and regulatory role or may direct media representatives to relevant AUSTRAC publications.

The authorised spokesperson for AUSTRAC is the Chief Executive Officer (or his nominated representative). All media releases, media responses and media advisories are approved by the CEO (or his nominee) prior to release.

Media releases

AUSTRAC issues media releases for a number of its activities. Publicising details of these activities, including enforcement action taken by AUSTRAC against reporting entities, serves a variety of purposes including:

  • raising awareness within industry and the general public of the threat posed by money laundering
  • identifying current money laundering methodologies
  • reinforcing with reporting entities the standards which are required to be met under Australia's AML/CTF regime
  • illustrating the consequences which can arise if reporting entities fail to comply with these requirements.

Limitations on public comment

There will be occasions where AUSTRAC will be unable to comment on particular matters. In particular, AUSTRAC is:

  • unable to comment on individual intelligence or operational matters
  • unable to comment on, confirm or deny whether an individual or reporting entity is the subject of any investigation by AUSTRAC or our partner agencies.

Unauthorised disclosure of official information may put at risk law enforcement operations and/or may be prevented by a range of legislative prohibitions, including:

  • Part 11 of the AML/CTF Act - which contains the secrecy provisions relating to AUSTRAC information; or
  • Section 70 of the Crimes Act 1914 - which makes it an offence for a Commonwealth officer to publish or communicate any fact, or document which comes into his or her knowledge or possession, and which it is his or her duty not to disclose.