09 July 2024

Transparency International Australia welcomes reforms to strengthen anti money-laundering in Australia

Transparency International Australia (TIA) welcomes the government’s commitment to addressing the crucial issues of money laundering and financial crime, as highlighted by Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus today.

“Financial crime impacts all of us,” said Clancy Moore, CEO of Transparency International Australia.

“When kleptocrats, criminals and corrupt officials hide their ill-gotten gains in Australia, it robs local communities of money for essential services and distorts our economy.”

“Too often, lawyers, accountants, and real-estate agents choose to look the other way, actively support, or unknowingly enable criminals to launder their proceeds of crime in Australia.”

“It’s time to close this massive loophole in Australia’s financial system.”

Currently, Australia is one of only five countries – including China, Haiti, Madagascar and the United States – that don’t regulate high risk professions like lawyers, accountants, real-estate agents and gemstone dealers as part of our anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regime.

The real estate sector is particularly vulnerable to money laundering, with recent cases showing where Australia falls short of international best practice. This includes the $10 billion bust in Sydney in 2023 and recent reports of two alleged Russian money launderers purchasing $10 million in properties in the Gold Coast.

Anecdotal evidence from New Zealand, whose real estate agents have been subject to anti money laundering legislation since 2019, show that agents are benefitting from enhanced business integrity and also improving their overall performance and customer trust.

By including real estate agents, dealers in precious metals and stones, luxury goods dealers and casinos in reforms to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act these sectors can play a pivotal role in preventing money laundering and strengthening the resilience of our financial systems

Transparency International Australia looks forward to collaborating with the government and industry stakeholders to ensure these reforms are effectively implemented, contributing to a safer and more transparent financial environment for all Australians.

More information:

  • View TIA’s report into “Stopping dirty money in Australia and Cambodia” which shows between 2019 and 2023, 118 properties were settled by Cambodian foreign persons, worth a combined value of $110 million.
  • View TI Australia’s submission into the government’s second consultation into the second consultation on modernising Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regime.