As Australia’s financial intelligence unit (FIU), AUSTRAC collects information from the thousands of entities we regulate. Our financial intelligence analysts use that information to identify financial transactions linked to crimes including money laundering, terrorism financing, organised crime, child exploitation and tax evasion.
We share our findings with a wide range of domestic and international partner agencies in law enforcement and security. We also participate in a number of national and state task forces, providing specialist financial intelligence to national security and transnational serious and organised crime efforts.
How we collect and use financial intelligence
We also act as Australia’s AML/CTF regulator. In this capacity we oversee the compliance of more than 15,000 reporting entities with their AML/CTF obligations, including reporting financial transactions and suspicious activity to AUSTRAC.
We closely analyse the information in these reports using sophisticated modelling and predictive analysis tools in combination with other data sources to identify potential criminal activity or risks to national security. We then share this intelligence with our partners to support law enforcement and national security operations.
Intelligence partnerships, both public and private, are fundamental for AUSTRAC. By sharing financial intelligence, we play a vital role in helping law enforcement and security agencies to detect and disrupt criminal activity in Australia and around the world.
Our financial intelligence makes a significant contribution to the national intelligence picture and supports investigations by our government partners at federal and state level.
We actively share intelligence reports with our government partners to help in their work to detect and disrupt criminal activity. Our partners also have direct access to our data holdings and can search our information directly to support their national security and law enforcement work. More than 5,000 users across 39 different partner agencies accessed our data holdings in 2017–18.
We also share data with government agencies that don’t have direct access to our data holdings but who may need specific information to help with their investigations – for example, the Australian Sports and Anti-Doping Association (ASADA).
Law enforcement task forces
AUSTRAC is a member of a number of national and state law enforcement task forces. We provide specialist financial intelligence to help combat serious criminal activity, including money laundering, terrorism financing, organised crime and tax evasion.
Learn more about the task forces we participate in, including brief summaries and partner agencies involved.
Data matching with our domestic partner agencies
Matching our data with data held by selected partner agencies can help identify individuals under investigation. For example, AUSTRAC matches data with data from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to identify individuals who may not be declaring income or paying their tax. We also match our data with data from the Department of Human Services to help combat benefit fraud and improve the integrity of the welfare system.
To combat money laundering and terrorism financing across borders, we also share financial intelligence with other AML/CTF FIUs and regulators around the world.
We negotiate written agreements (exchange instruments) with each foreign jurisdiction or organisation. These agreements set out the framework for how we will exchange information with foreign jurisdictions or organisations. You can see a list of exchange instruments and read more about AUSTRAC's international engagement, including how we share financial intelligence and other information.
Our role in the National Intelligence Community
In 2017, the Independent Intelligence Review recognised the increasingly significant role AUSTRAC plays in the broader intelligence community as Australia’s financial intelligence unit, and recommended that the National Intelligence Community (NIC) expand to include AUSTRAC.
There are nine other members of the NIC:
- Office of National Intelligence
- Australian Secret Intelligence Service
- Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
- Australian Signals Directorate
- Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation
- Defence Intelligence Organisation
- Australian Federal Police
- Department of Home Affairs
- Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission
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