Sunday, 25 March 2018
Media release

Joint Media Release with the Hon Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security - Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

The Turnbull Government will establish a national centre to counter child exploitation and abuse.

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) will drive a national effort to combat a global epidemic of child abuse and create a hub of expertise and specialist skills needed to disrupt, prevent and investigate exploitation.

The violent and repulsive abuse of children is becoming more prevalent and the organised nature of offending is also becoming more complex, requiring a consolidated and strategic approach to combat it.

The Government will provide $68.6 million in the 2018-19 Budget to create the ACCCE under the Department of Home Affairs and build a capability not currently held by any single federal or state agency.

The ACCCE will combine the resources of the various agencies in the Home Affairs portfolio, link to other federal departments, state agencies and, importantly, non-government organisations with expertise in dealing with child exploitation, its victims and consequences.

The ACCCE will also link Australia more closely with international law enforcement and agencies such as the US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. 

The Federal-State Joint Anti Child Exploitation Teams in each state have been very effective and will continue to operate, but the problem of child abuse and exploitation is getting bigger.

The scale and complexity of the challenge is compounded by technology and the continuing evolution of that technology for what is a borderless crime.

In the digital era, it has never been easier for perpetrators to contact children and share images of abuse and torture through global networks.

The level of such material is increasing in volume and the nature of it is becoming more violent and extreme.

By bringing together the expertise of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, AusTrac, the Office of the Cyber Coordinator, the Australian Border Force, Australian Institute of Criminology and other areas of the Department of Home Affairs, law enforcement officials anticipate the ACCCE will identify and remove from harm more than 200 child victims each year.

The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said preventing child exploitation was a key priority of the Turnbull Government and the new centre would consolidate efforts to detect and disrupt such abhorrent crime.

"Anyone's child can be targeted by paedophiles and child traffickers and it's our responsibility to stamp them out wherever we can," he said.

The Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor said the ACCCE would strengthen the ability of Australia's law enforcement agencies to tackle what are revolting crimes.

"It sends a clear message to the perpetrators of these crimes that we will track them down," he said.

Establishment of the ACCCE will be a phased operation. The 2018-19 Budget allocation will enable the AFP to expand the staff of its existing Child Protection Operations by around 30 per cent over the next financial year and then a further 30 per cent the following year.

It will be Brisbane based because of Brisbane's proximity to the Asia-Pacific and its status as a cyber-hub.