AUSTRAC task forces

In its role as Australia’s AML/CTF regulator and financial intelligence unit, AUSTRAC participates in multiple counter-terrorism and law enforcement task forces.

These task forces allow AUSTRAC and its partner agencies to share information and provide intelligence that leads to the disruption of serious criminal activity such as money laundering, terrorism financing, organised crime, child exploitation, drug crime, fraud, corruption and tax evasion.

This article explores which law enforcement taskforces AUSTRAC is part of and the work they do to combat serious and organised crime.


Law enforcement task forces

AUSTRAC participates in the following national law enforcement taskforces:

Task Force Summary
Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) The ACCCE is a centre of expertise and specialist skills that provides a coordinated response to the online exploitation of children both in Australia and overseas. ACCCE combines the resources and experience of all Australian governments, as well as non-government organisations and private industry.
Operation Athena Operation Athena targets the trafficking and use of illicit firearms throughout Australia and involves all policing jurisdictions as well as a number of Federal agencies.
Operation Ashiba Operation Ashiba has been established to support and contribute to whole‐of‐government efforts to combat serious and organised crime exploiting Commonwealth funded programs.
Black Economy Standing Task Force (BEST) BEST draws on expertise from across government to develop policies, reforms and enforcement to discourage people from entering the black economy, a term used to describe those who operate outside the tax and regulatory system.
Criminal Assets Confiscation Task Force (CACT) The multi-agency CACT provides a coordinated and integrated approach to identifying and removing the profits derived from serious and organised criminal activity.
Operation Griffin Operation Griffin is a national coordination group acting as the primary source of advice to the Serious Organised Crime Coordination Committee on all matters relating to child protection.
Illicit Tobacco Task Force (ITTF) The ITTF protects Commonwealth revenue and the tobacco excise system by proactively targeting, disrupting and dismantling serious actors and organised crime syndicates that deal in illicit tobacco.
Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Task Force (JACET) JACET brings together the AFP and State and Territory police to combat and investigate child exploitation matters. The JACET model co-locates AFP officers with local State and Territory police Sex Crime Commands, or equivalent, which operate based on information provided by the ACCCE.
Task Force Morpheus Task Force Morpheus connects Commonwealth, State and Territory law enforcement agencies to provide a nationally coordinated response to high threat outlaw motor cycle gangs (OMCGs) operating across domestic and international borders.
Phoenix Task Force The Phoenix Task Force comprises 32 Commonwealth, State and Territory government agencies providing a whole-of-government approach to combatting illegal phoenix activity.
Serious Financial Crime Task Force (SFCT) SFCT brings together the knowledge, resources and experience of relevant law enforcement and regulatory agencies to identify and address the most serious and complex forms of financial crime.
Operation Themis Operation Themis is part of the law enforcement strategy framework sitting under the Serious Organised Crime Consultative Committee. Themis is responsible for targeting serious financial crimes including fraud, money laundering and corruption.
Operation Vitreus Operation Vitreus is part of the law enforcement strategy framework sitting under the Serious Organised Crime Consultative Committee, focused on disrupting illicit drug activity.


Recent operation by the Criminal Assets Confiscation Task Force

In February 2022, an operation conducted by the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) secured the forfeiture of $2,745,000 in illicit cash and three luxury cars after three separate investigations in Western Australia.

This operation commenced in 2020 after the CACT received financial intelligence from AUSTRAC that identified suspicious account activity and large funds transfers between bank accounts in WA and Thailand.

More than $1.2 million was forfeited from an Australian bank account, identified during an investigation into suspected money laundering and tax fraud involving a WA man. Three properties and funds in several bank accounts in Australia linked to the WA man were restrained after successful court applications. Funds in Thai bank accounts were also restrained following successful cooperation with Thai authorities.

AUSTRAC National Manager of Intelligence Operations, Michael Tink said AUSTRAC’s financial intelligence analysis capabilities play a critical role in identifying and disrupting unexplained criminal wealth networks.

“Our specialist financial intelligence analysts use cutting-edge tools, data and tradecraft to identify unexplained wealth and ensure that criminals do not profit from their crimes.”

Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation in complex cases investigated by AUSTRAC and its partner agencies.

Contact us if you require assistance.