AUSTRAC Rules in Australia: Everything You Need to Know


It is challenging to be a victim of a financial crime in Australia. You or somebody you know might not know the correct recourse available.

AUSTRAC or the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre can help you with your problem. However, you may not know precisely how AUSTRAC reporting works.

Scroll down to learn everything you need to know about reports with the AUSTRAC.

What is AUSTRAC?

AUSTRAC is the financial intelligence unit of Australia. It is also the country’s primary financial regulator. The office has been in existence since 1989 after the passage of the Financial Transaction Reports Act of 1988.

AUSTRAC’s office is located in Canberra, Australia’s capital city. It has three departments that are reflective of its responsibilities:

  • Intelligence, capability, and strategy
  • Regulation, education, and policy.

The primary function of AUSTRAC is to detect and prevent all forms of financial crime in Australia. It also provides regulatory oversight for various financial service providers in the country.

AUSTRAC collects and analyses various reports from banks and relevant organisations to perform these functions. Additionally, AUSTRAC uses the data as a basis for future criminal investigations.

Requirements Needed to Report to AUSTRAC

AUSTRAC derives its authority from the Financial Transaction Reports Act of 1988 and the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act of 2006.

The laws upon which the AUSTRAC derives its authority set a range of obligations and rules for certain types of activities.

  • Reporting Threshold: Australian firms must submit Threshold Transaction Reports to AUSTRAC when handling transactions of at least AUD 10,000. TTRs should be submitted within ten business days from the transaction date.
  • International Fund Transfers. Firms must submit an international fund transfer instruction report to AUSTRAC when transferring funds in or out of Australia. This applies whether the transaction was done electronically or through a designated remittance agreement. Firms should also submit these reports within ten business days from the transaction date.
  • Suspicious Matters. Customers should submit a suspicious matter report when they experience engaging in suspicious financial activity. You should submit the report within 72 hours of detecting the suspicious activity (or 24 hours if relating to terrorism).
  • Cross Border Movement. Under the new rules of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act, any person who moves physical currency of at least AUD 10,000 in or out of Australia should submit a cross-border movement report. The report should be submitted within five business days.

Risk-Based Compliance

Anti-Money Laundering rules in Australia require a risk-based approach from firms in conducting regulatory compliance. This means that they should deploy AML/Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) measures in proportion to the risks they encounter

Firms are directed to build an effective risk management solution built on risk-based compliance. This is to identify and assess their clients throughout their transactions quickly.

Thus, they should focus on the following factors.

  • Identity Verification. Firms should do sufficient verification of the identities of their customers during screening and monitoring.
  • Transaction Monitoring. Transactions should be continuously monitored to manage risk profiles and identify suspicious matters immediately.
  • Political Corruption. Politically exposed persons have a high AML risk. Thus, firms should meticulously screen their clients to determine whether they are PEPs. They warrant a stricter AML/CFT scrutiny application if such is the case. This rule applies to domestic, foreign, and international PEPs.
  • Sanctions and Watchlists. Australia enforces UN Security Council penalties and maintains an autonomous international sanctions list. Thus, AUSTRAC needs firms to crosscheck their foreign customers against watchlists and sanctions.
  • Adverse Media. AUSTRAC also recommends that firms perform media searches with all their transactions to detect stories that affect customer profiles. In addition, firms should conduct media searches with sufficiency and include even foreign language sources.

Many things come with AUSTRAC reporting. To avoid being victimised by financial crimes, ensure that you know the AUSTRACs rules and reporting requirements.