A financial system free from criminal abuse
AUSTRAC is an Australian Government agency with a mandate specified in the Anti-Money-Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act).
AUSTRAC is part of the Attorney-General’s portfolio, and the Chief Executive Officer reports to the Minister for Justice.
Established in 1989 under the Cash Transaction Reports Act 1988 as the Cash Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, the agency’s primary responsibilities at that time included collecting and analysing various reports about suspicious transactions, international currency transfers and significant amounts of cash. The agency’s remit has expanded over time in line with Australia’s response to domestic and international criminal threats to the integrity of the financial system.
AUSTRAC strives to be a global leader in anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing, and the primary source for financial intelligence in Australia.
Our purpose is to:
- discover money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) threats and risks
- provide an understanding of these threats and risks
- respond to these threats and risks in partnership with industry and government agencies in Australia and overseas, and
- regulate industry effectively.
With our partners, we regulate industry to discover, understand and respond to criminal threats, assisting to disrupt them. As the interface between national security, law enforcement and revenue agencies, and industry, we transform financial information into knowledge and actionable financial intelligence of ML/TF risks.
We do this to:
- protect the Australian financial system from criminal abuse
- help to protect the global financial system and Australia from harms of serious and organised crime and terrorism.
Our core functions
AUSTRAC collects and analyses financial transaction reports provided by regulated entities, and information from partners, to enable outcomes that support whole of government priorities in detecting, disrupting and deterring financial activity subversive to Australia’s national interest. Our network of counterpart financial intelligence units and regulators and active membership of forums like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), enable AUSTRAC to be effective in combating the international nature of money laundering and terrorism financing.
AUSTRAC oversees compliance with obligations under the AML/CTF Act and the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (FTR Act) across diverse industry sectors, including financial services providers, the gambling industry, bullion dealers, and remittance (money) service providers.
Our six operating principles supporting our purpose and strategic direction, are:
- strategic focus and cohesion
- demand (value) drive
- accountability and
- proactivity and agility
AUSTRAC works in a complex system with many partners, relationships, entities and activities. The system map below, is a simplified representation of some of those key entities and the nature of the relationship with AUSTRAC.
- Criminal entities: these drive criminal risk and are the ultimate target of AUSTRAC’s activities directly, or through our partners.
- Financial sector: we work with industry to prevent criminal abuse, primarily in the form of money laundering or terrorism financing.
- Operational agencies: our financial intelligence is a critical input to the operational activities of these entities.
- Government: we contribute to the development of effective legislation and regulation to ensure the integrity of the financial sector.
- International: we work with international partners to strengthen the international financial system.