We’re ‘stepping up’ in the Pacific

As Australia’s financial intelligence unit (FIU), AUSTRAC works closely with our FIU counterparts overseas to strengthen skills, improve governance, increase compliance with international standards and develop important relationships.

One of the main focuses for our international engagement is protecting Australia and the Pacific region against money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) threats.

Some of the key threats to our region include corruption, environmental crime, people smuggling and tax evasion. Transnational serious organised crime groups also use the Pacific as a transit hub for drug trafficking.

In April 2020, AUSTRAC created the Pacific Operations team to strengthen our relationships in the region and enhance our response to ML/TF threats in the Pacific.

Our work in the region is part of the Australian government’s ‘Pacific Step-up’ initiative. Pacific Step-up is one of Australia's highest foreign policy priorities, allowing us to better support the regional operational activities of agencies such as the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Border Force.

We also partner with Pacific FIUs to strengthen collaboration and identify and combat ML/TF threats in the South Pacific Island region by:

  • upgrading IT systems so that analysts have access to the latest and most sophisticated data management and analysis tools
  • providing financial intelligence analysis training
  • collaborating with partner FIUs to help AUSTRAC follow illicit money as it moves within and beyond our region.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made international engagement even more challenging. As a result, we’ve moved many of our activities online to keep up our ongoing support to our friends in the Pacific while also seeking to keep Australia safe.

Learn more about our work with international partners.