The Coalition’s Plan to Keep Illegal Guns Off Our Street and Our Communities Safe

Key Commitments

The Coalition has no higher responsibility than keeping Australia safe and secure.

We have a responsible long-term plan for Australia’s national security and have a strong track record when it comes to safer communities.

We committed $50 million over three years in Safer Streets Programme funding to assist local communities in implementing strategies to enhance community safety and security, both in real terms by reducing street crime, violence and antisocial behaviour and through increased perception of safety in the community.

Since coming to government, the Coalition has delivered significant commitments to ensure a safe and secure Australia, including a $2.5 billion boost to our law enforcement and security agencies. We’ve also passed a range of new laws to give our police and security agencies the powers they need to keep the community safe.

We established the Australian Border Force, increased funding for border integrity to enhance passenger screening and automation, and strengthen Australia’s visa regime.

The Coalition will continue to make our communities safer by:

  • investing $39 million to extend the work of our National Anti-Gang Squad for a further two years, continuing work to track and detect illegal firearms on our streets and lock up people who would seek to profit from their misery
  • re-introducing legislation within our first 100 days to increase maximum penalties and introduce mandatory minimum sentences of five years imprisonment for firearms trafficking
  • investing $25 million to increase forensics and intelligence assets for the Australian Federal Police
  • investing $230 million to improve Australia’s cyber security
  • providing $154 million to enhance the protection of the personnel and buildings of the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission
  • committing $28.2 million to expand the crime prevention and investigation capabilities of Australian police forces
  • delivering $107 million to enhance the data and communication capabilities of the Australian Federal Police and CrimTrac
  • investing in a $40 million Safer Communities Fund
  • incorporating criminal intelligence into background checks

Our Plan to Keep Illegal Guns off Our Streets and Our Communities Safe

The Coalition will ensure a safe and secure Australia. Our top priority will always be to keep citizens and communities safe.

1. Investing $39 million to extend the National Anti-Gang Squad

The Coalition will invest $39 million to extend the work of our National Anti-Gang Squad for a further two years, continuing work to track and detect illegal firearms on our streets and lock up people who would seek to profit from their misery.

We will also increase their presence in regional Australia.

The National Ice Taskforce Report found ice use in regional and remote Australia is a growing problem. Building on the existing work of the Government’s National Anti-Gangs Squad (NAGS), future funding of $39 million will extend the life of the squad and provide an increased presence in regional areas in each state.

The Coalition has previously invested $74million in strike teams across the country. These teams have resulted in federal police officers and agencies working hand in glove with State police forces to tackle criminal bikie gangs in the business of peddling illegal drugs such as ice to the devastation of communities across Australia.

Our commitment will ensure that Federal and State police across the country will continue to attack the scourge of ice and other illegal drugs in regional and remote communities, as well as the organised gangs that peddle their misery.

The illegal trafficking of firearms is a deadly crime and just one illegal firearm is a huge threat to the safety of Australians. The Coalition will continue to equip our law enforcement agencies with the resources they need to be able to detect and seize illegal firearms.

Under Labor’s watch, we saw budget cuts to Customs of more than $700 million. Sea cargo inspections decreased by 25 per cent and air cargo inspections decreased by 75 per cent.

The Coalition boosted funding with an $88 million commitment to the Australian Border Force to boost screenings and examination of international mail, air and sea cargo. This funding gives our agencies greater tools to detect illegal firearms and firearm parts.

Since the introduction of the NAGS in 2013, 555 illegal firearms have been taken off our streets.

Our commitment will take more guns off our streets and make our communities safer.

2. Re-introducing legislation within our first 100 days to increase maximum penalties and introduce mandatory minimum sentences of five years imprisonment for firearms trafficking

The Coalition will re-introduce legislation within our first 100 days to increase maximum penalties and introduce mandatory minimum sentences of five years imprisonment for illegal firearms trafficking.

We have strengthened laws to crack down on those seeking to import guns into Australia.

In February 2015, the Coalition closed a loophole that allowed criminals to avoid prosecution for trafficking firearm parts into Australia. Without these amendments, criminals could evade trafficking offences and penalties simply by breaking down the firearms and then trafficking the parts separately.

We have also introduced legislation to increase maximum penalties and introduce mandatory minimum sentences of five years’ imprisonment for firearms trafficking offences.

Labor has blocked these mandatory minimum sentences on several occasions, highlighting their ‘soft on guns’ approach.

We will re-introduce legislation within our first 100 days to increase maximum penalties and introduce mandatory minimum sentences of five years imprisonment for firearms trafficking.

3. Enhancing Australian Federal Police online covert capability

The Coalition will invest $25 million to increase forensics and intelligence assets for the Australian Federal Police.

Our commitment will enhance AFP covert online engagement and intelligence and evidence collection, specifically for counter terrorism investigations.

This commitment builds on the establishment of dedicated covert online engagement teams, funded under the ‘Enhanced Targeting and Online Convergence’ aspect of the ‘2014 Addressing the Threat of Foreign Fighters New Policy Initiative.’

This investment will also enhance AFP’s ability to, in conjunction with the Australian Border Force and our international partners detect attempts by criminals to illegally import firearms and their parts into Australia.

4. Investing $230 million to improve Australia’s cyber security

The Coalition will invest $230 million to improve Australia’s cyber security.

Our commitment will provide funding to improve public-private partnership and cyber threat information, increase cyber security capabilities, address cyber security skills shortages and improve awareness of cyber security for all Australians.

The Coalition’s commitment is essential to safeguarding Australia’s cyber security.

This investment complements the $400 million over the next decade the Government has committed to improve Defence’s cyber and intelligence capabilities through the 2016 Defence White Paper.

5. Providing $154 million to enhance the protection of the personnel and buildings of the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission

The Coalition will enhance protection for our security services.

Our commitment will provide additional guards at key sites used by the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission.

As part of our commitment, the Australian Federal Police will undertake a scoping study to identify suitable solutions for improved CCTV, automated facial and number plate recognition, and increased data storage and management.

6. Committing $28.2 million to expand the crime prevention and investigation capabilities of Australian police forces

The Coalition will provide $28.2 million to expand the crime prevention and investigation capabilities of Australian police forces.

Our commitment includes:

  • $14.7 million to expand foreign bribery investigative capability in the AFP’s Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre
  • $4 million investment in Victoria to continue the fight against organised crime on the waterfront
  • $3.6 million to detect ice hotspots, and collect real-time data of illegal drugs being used in our communities through waste water analysis.
  • $3.3 million to expand the Coalition’s National Anti-Gang Squad to add a strike team in South Australia
  • $1.6 million for Big Data analysis to identify associations and trends in criminal behaviours and national security risks
  • $1 million for extra real time surveillance.

7. Delivering $107 million to enhance the data and communication capabilities of the Australian Federal Police and CrimTrac

The Coalition will invest $107 million to enhance the data and communication capabilities of the AFP and CrimTrac.

Our commitment includes:

  • $52 million to replace CrimTrac’s existing National Automated Fingerprint Identification System with an updated system with both fingerprint and biometric matching capability
  • $48 million to move the AFP’s data centre to commercial arrangements and to replace their radio communications capability
  • $6.8 million to replace obsolete CrimTrac hardware

8. Investing in a $40 million Safer Communities Fund

The Coalition’s top priority will always be to keep Australians safe.

The Safer Communities Fund will:

  • boost the efforts of identified local Councils and community organisations to address crime and anti-social behaviour by funding community safety initiatives (such as fixed and mobile CCTV and lighting)
  • protect schools, pre-schools and community organisations facing a security risks associated with racial or religious intolerance

9. Incorporating criminal intelligence into background checks

The Coalition will strengthen background checking regimes to ensure that individuals with links to serious and organised crime cannot gain access our airports, ports, and other Commonwealth sites where security is a concern.

As well as incorporating criminal intelligence into background checks the Coalition will also take steps to incorporate emerging technology which can be used to combat the rise of identity theft – through the use of the Document Verification Service and the Commonwealth new Biometrics Hub.

The Choice

The Coalition understands that only safe communities can be strong and prosperous, and the best way to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour is to prevent it happening.

That is why we committed $50 million over three years in Safer Streets Programme funding to assist local communities in implementing strategies to enhance community safety and security.

This $50 million came from unlocking the proceeds of crime account that the previous Labor Government froze to prop up its budget bottom line. If Labor was still in Government, there would have been $112 million frozen in the account by 2017-18.

In this election campaign, Labor has again promised to continue this if they are returned to Government. Under the Coalition, proceeds of crime are being invested as they should be – in local communities to prevent crime.

Since August 2014, the Coalition Government has boosted counter-terrorism funding for our law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies by $2.5 billion.

We’ve also passed a range of new laws to give our police and security agencies the powers they need to keep the community safe:

  • laws which allow our agencies to intervene early in terrorism investigations to prioritise the safety of the community
  • the retention of metadata which is essential for counter-terrorism investigations
  • laws that deal with people who travel overseas to fight with terrorist organisations

Labor’s approach did nothing to improve Australia’s national security.

Despite evidence of the growing terror threat, between 2007 and 2013, Labor cut $292 million from counter-terrorism funding for our law enforcement and security agencies.

Labor also slashed over $700 million from the Customs and Border Protection Service budget, while losing control of our borders.

Labor cut more than $250 million from the Australian Federal Police and 100 staff from the Australian Crime Commission.

Labor ignored urgent requests from our agencies for a data retention law. They then did their best to frustrate this Government’s efforts to pass one.

Under Labor defence spending as a share of GDP dropped to 1.56 per cent in the 2012-13 Budget – the lowest level since 1938.

Costs

The Coalition will invest $64 million to keep illegal guns off our streets and our communities safe.

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The Coalition’s Plan to Keep Illegal Guns Off Our Street and Our Communities Safe

Since coming to government, the Coalition has delivered significant commitments to ensure a safe and secure Australia, including a $2.5 billion boost to our law enforcement and security agencies. We’ve also passed a range of new laws to give our police and security agencies the powers they need to keep the community safe.