The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Bill 2017 (Cth) (Bill) proposes to implement the first phase of reforms to strengthen Australia's capabilities to address money laundering and terrorism financing risks, and generate regulatory efficiencies.

Specifically, the Bill will amend the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) (AML/CTF Act) and the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (Cth) to:

  • expand the objects of the AML/CTF Act to reflect the domestic objectives of AML/CTF regulation;
  • close a regulatory gap by regulating digital currency exchange providers (and  bringing them within the remit of AUSTRAC);
  • strengthen AUSTRAC’s investigation and enforcement powers by giving the AUSTRAC CEO the power to issue infringement notices for a greater range of regulatory offences and issue a remedial direction to a reporting entity to retrospectively comply with an obligation that has been breached;
  • give police and customs officers broader search and seizure powers and establish civil penalties for failure to comply with questioning and search powers; and
  • provide regulatory relief to industry by:
    • clarifying due diligence obligations relating to correspondent banking relationships and broadening the scope of these relationships;
    • de-regulating the cash-in-transit sector, insurance intermediaries and general insurance providers;
    • qualifying the term ‘in the course of carrying on a business’; and
    • allowing related bodies corporate to share information.

The Bill has been referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 16 October 2017.

See also Minister for Justice, The Hon Michael Keenan MP’s media release dated 17 August 2017.