The Morrison Government has taken a significant step to establish a National Cooperative Scheme on Unexplained Wealth.
The Unexplained Wealth Legislation Amendment Bill 2018, which has now passed the Parliament, will enhance the ability of Commonwealth, State and Territory law enforcement agencies to trace, identify and seize assets that cannot be connected to a lawful source.
The scheme will allow Commonwealth unexplained orders to be used where a person or property can be linked to a broader range of State and Territory offences. Further, the scheme allows participating jurisdictions to access powerful investigative tools and grants them preferential treatment in the distribution of seized assets.
New South Wales recently became the first State to take steps to join the Scheme, passing the legislation necessary to allow the Commonwealth to confiscate unexplained wealth in relation to certain New South Wales offences. The Scheme will also apply to the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
"The governments of New South Wales and the Commonwealth have sent a clear message to criminals that there is no place to hide their illegal assets," Mr Dutton said.
"Serious and organised crime does not respect borders, which is why the Commonwealth, States and Territories have worked together to make sure that jurisdiction is not a factor in combatting unexplained wealth."
"The Scheme will enable coordinated and targeted enforcement action across multiple jurisdictions at the same time, while enhancing participating jurisdictions' ability to action confiscation within their own borders."
Mr Dutton called on other States to join the scheme and ensure serious and organised crime is being targeted in a nationally coordinated and effective way.
"The Coalition Government has been negotiating with the States since 2014. The passage of this Bill is a momentous achievement and highlights this Government's commitment to preventing jurisdictional differences standing in the way of community safety." 2 www.minister.homeaffairs.gov.au
"I call on my State colleagues to join me in demonstrating that our governments are committed to strengthening Unexplained Wealth laws and to strike at the heart of organised crime."