According to Australian media Miragenews, the Australian government announced an investment of A$188.5 million to work with states and territories to provide the Australian Border Force (ABF) with a new compliance model over the next four years to combat the illegal tobacco trade. ABF will lead federal, state and territory partners to tackle all aspects of the illicit tobacco problem.
The new compliance model has three focuses:
·Stop the flow of illegal tobacco into Australia. ABF will work with international partners to crack down on and disrupt illicit tobacco in source and transit countries before it reaches Australia's borders;
·Increase ABF's ability to respond to the illegal tobacco trade at the border. This includes intelligence gathering, targeting criminal groups, conducting investigations and identifying, seizing and destroying illicit tobacco. ABF will introduce technology improvements, including the use of artificial intelligence for illicit tobacco threat detection, to improve detection and countermeasures capabilities. Federal agencies and state and territory law enforcement partners will have the ability to proactively target domestic illicit tobacco syndicates seeking to bring tobacco into Australia;
· Bringing together all parties to implement a coordinated multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional response across states and territories.
The Government’s stepped-up action will further deter and deter illicit tobacco in Australia, building on the significant gains made with state and territory partners since the creation of the Illicit Tobacco Taskforce in July 2018.
"We will continue to send a clear message to individuals and organizations involved in the illicit tobacco industry that participating in the illicit tobacco trade is a serious offence."
Tobacco is an important source of revenue used by organized crime to fund other illicit activities. There are widely documented links between the distribution and sale of illicit tobacco products and serious and organized crime in Australia.