Tougher laws call to tackle organised crime profits

Savannah Meacham |

A report is calling for stronger laws to tackle crime gangs who profit from cyber crime.
A report is calling for stronger laws to tackle crime gangs who profit from cyber crime.

Major law changes are required to crack down on the financial profiteering of organised crime in Queensland, a report has found. 

The Crime and Corruption Commission has made recommendations to the government to overhaul the Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act 2002 to prevent organised crime profits.

“Significant action is needed by the Queensland government to ensure that the act can have the disruptive impact on serious and organised crime that the parliament intended,” the report released on Tuesday said.

In 2022-23, an estimated $10 billion to $25 billion was laundered in Queensland, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade found.

The review began in July 2023 to investigate whether the act was up to scratch in a modern digital world with more criminal groups using offshore links, digital assets and hard to trace decentralised financial transactions.

The review focused on how legislation could best support law enforcement in seizing and stopping crime-derived assets, money laundering and preventing people gaining criminal wealth.

Some of the 10 recommendations include making the state’s money laundering offence clearer and fit for purpose by defining and incorporating digital assets.

Police should also be able to seize digital assets as evidence but given their volatile form, courts should have the power to convert it to a stable currency such as cash.

It recommended any assets from criminal operations should be used for broader resources such as victim compensation, crime reduction and offender rehabilitation.

The government – if it implements the recommendations – should also provide a review of the act in five years, the report said.

The Queensland government is yet to respond to the report’s recommendations.