AUSTRAC partnerships

AUSTRAC, Australia’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), plays a crucial role in generating financial intelligence for law enforcement investigations. By analysing information shared by businesses through suspicious matter reporting and other financial transactions, AUSTRAC aligns its work with Australia’s money laundering and terrorism financing risk profile, reflecting the priorities of key law enforcement, national security, and regulatory partners.

To help the public better understand its intelligence function, AUSTRAC outlines how it sets its intelligence priorities, and sheds light on key partnerships and collaborative initiatives that help to support these priorities.


How does AUSTRAC set priorities?

There are various external drivers that influence AUSTRAC’s intelligence priorities and focus areas including:

  • Australian Intelligence Missions that address priority requirements of the Australian government – coordinated by the Office of National Intelligence (ONI). The ONI leads the work of the National Intelligence Community which brings together ten agencies to protect and enhance Australia’s security, prosperity and sovereignty.
  • Serious and Organised Crime priorities – set by the Serious and Organised Crime Coordination Committee (SOCCC). The SOCCC brings together the capability and expertise from all state and national law enforcement agencies in the efforts to combat serious and organised crime.
  • Whole-of-Government priorities – set by the National Cabinet and relevant ministers. National Cabinet is a forum for the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers to meet and work collaboratively.
  • International anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) expectations and standards – set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. It sets international standards that aim to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society.
  • National Risk Assessments (on money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation funding).
  • Fintel Alliance Executive Board Lines of Effort. Fintel Alliance partners include major banks, remittance service providers and gambling operators, as well as law enforcement and security agencies from Australia and overseas.
  • Projects and working groups of the Egmont Group of FIUs – an international organisation that facilitates cooperation and intelligence sharing between national FIUs to investigate and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.


Partnerships supporting priorities

AUSTRAC leverages its strong partnerships and collaboration with industry and government entities to furnish vital intelligence to law enforcement, intelligence agencies, regulatory bodies, revenue services, and border agencies. Such intelligence directly supports collective priorities and contributes to preventing harm and disrupting criminal activities, resulting in arrests and convictions.

AUSTRAC actively contributes to domestic and international multi-agency task forces and projects aimed at tackling international sanctions, serious and organised crimes, including money laundering, foreign interference, fraud, environmental crime, and offences related to child sexual exploitation.


Collaboration between AUSTRAC and regulated businesses

To help regulated businesses comprehend, recognise, and report suspicious activities, AUSTRAC collaborates with government and industry partners to create Financial Crime Guides which provide valuable information that helps in identifying behaviours and indicators linked to various crime types.

Businesses can use these guides to identify and stop financial transactions associated with money laundering and other serious crimes. In a recent case example, a guide released by AUSTRAC led to a major bank reporting two suspicious matters to AUSTRAC due to a customer using abusive language in the payment text fields. AUSTRAC worked with law enforcement to identify that the subject of the reports had breached an AVO, and the individual was subsequently located and arrested.


Key takeaways

AUSTRAC’s intelligence priorities are influenced by various external drivers such as the broader priorities of the Australian government. Partnerships and collaboration with industry and government entities allow AUSTRAC to provide crucial intelligence to law enforcement and related agencies to support investigations, thereby upholding established priorities and leading to real-world results.

Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation in cases investigated by AUSTRAC and its partners.

Contact us if you require assistance.