The Federal Government has announced a $25.4 million funding injection into the detection and seizure of illegal firearms, including "specialised intelligence software tools" aimed at boosting intelligence collection on international firearms trafficking.
The software will and allow the Australian Federal Police to search, analyse and map intelligence data to identify previously unknown links between firearms traffickers and their suppliers, customers and illegal activities on the "darkweb".
"We know that modern technologies such as the darkweb are enabling organised criminals to expand their reach globally and exert significant influence over Australia's black market, including drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion and firearms offences," Michael Keenan, the Minister for Justice Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter Terrorism said in a statement.
"To tackle this ongoing threat, the AFP-led National Forensics Rapid Lab (NFRL) is already targeting the violent predators who profit from the misery of these evil trades — removing illicit drugs from our streets and thwarting identity fraud."
Keenan says since the NFRL was established in 2013, over 10,000 packages containing almost two tonnes of illicit narcotics have been found and more than 140 new psychoactive substances have been identified — drugs which would have gone undetected using traditional law enforcement methods.
"Now, through the Coalition Government's investment the NFRL will be expanded to crack down on the illegal firearms market, particularly through the international mail system," Keenan says. This will include the forensic examination of firearms, firearms parts and accessories, and the establishment of a new team of specialised forensic scientists and criminal intelligence analysts.
New "specialised intelligence software tools" are being used with the aim of boosting intelligence collection on international firearms trafficking and allowing the AFP to search, analyse and map intelligence data to identify previously unknown links between firearms traffickers and their suppliers, customers and illegal activities.
"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," Keenan says.
"The Coalition boosted funding in our law enforcement and security agencies with an extra $2.5 billion investment, including $88 million in the Australian Border Force to boost screenings and examination of international mail, air and sea cargo, and we have strengthened laws to crack down on those seeking to import guns into Australia."