Government opens consultation on AML/CTF reforms

Stakeholders can make submissions on the proposed reform until 16 June

Government opens consultation on AML/CTF reforms

The government has launched a public consultation on proposed reforms for the country's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regime.

The AML/CTF regime aims to help businesses identify the risks of funding serious crimes such as terrorism, child abuse, and illicit drug trade. The government said it is committed to protecting the integrity of the Australian financial system and improving the country's AML/CTF regime to ensure it is fit for purpose, responds to the evolving threat environment, and meets international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global financial crime watchdog and standard setter.

The need to streamline obligations has long been called for by the industry and was recommended in the 2016 Report on the Statutory Review of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006.

Lawyers, accountants, trust and company service providers, real estate agents, and dealers in precious metals and stones as known as tranche-two entities and are particularly vulnerable to exploitation by transnational, serious and organized crime groups and terrorists.

Since 2015, Australia has failed to comply with 16 out of 40 FATF Standards, including extending the AML/CTF regime to tranche-two entities. As a result, Australia risks being grey listed by the FATF, which could result in significant harm to the country's economy. In addition, Australia is one of only five jurisdictions, out of more than 200, that do not regulate tranche-two entities.

The government has accepted all recommendations of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the adequacy and efficacy of the country's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime. The committee made four bipartisan recommendations, including extending the AML/CTF regime to tranche-two entities. The first consultation paper on these proposed reforms has been released, and stakeholders can make submissions until June 16.

The Attorney-General's department will also hold roundtable discussions on issues raised by stakeholders in submissions to the consultation paper.

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