Following its assent on 28 March 2018, the Proceeds of Crime Amendment (Proceeds and Other Matters) Act 2018 (Cth) commenced operation on 29 March 2018.
The amending legislation will make a number of amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth) (the "Act") (No 85 of 2002).
The legislation ensures that authorities can appropriately restrain and confiscate property or wealth in certain instances, so that criminals are not able to deliberately structure their affairs to avoid the operation of the Act and retain their ill-gotten gains.
The Explanatory Memorandum (the "EM") to the Bill indicates (page 4, para 16) the legislation:
Amendments contained in Schedule 1 clarify key terms in the Act, including the terms “proceeds”, “instrument” and “lawfully acquired”. They also expand the Commonwealth’s unexplained wealth regime to ensure that it covers wealth derived or realised, directly or indirectly, from certain offences. The amendments will ensure that proceeds of crime authorities can appropriately restrain and confiscate property or wealth in cases in which illicit funds are used to make improvements to property or to wholly or partly discharge an encumbrance, security or liability incurred in relation to property.
The need for change was outlined in the Bill’s EM (page 2, paras 4 and 5):
Whilst at Bill stage, a Report from the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee (the "Committee") of February 2018 noted with regard to unexplained wealth (page 2, paras 1.8 and 1.9):
The Committee also commented on the retrospective application of the legislation (pages 3 and 4, paras 1.15 and 1.17):
In closing, the Committee also noted (page 16, para 2.28) of their Report:
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Proceeds of Crime Amendment (Proceeds and Other Matters) Bill 2017 and Proceeds of Crime Amendment (Proceeds and Other Matters) Act 2018 (No 21 of 2018) (Cth) - Supporting information available from TimeBase LawOne Service.
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