Crackdown on waterfront crime

HOME Affairs Minister Jason Clare has unveiled a plan to boost the crackdown on organised crime on Australia's waterfront.

Mr Clare said the reforms would build on the work of Strike Force Polaris, which was established in 2010 to investigate organised crime on Sydney's waterfront.

Polaris, made up of 49 criminal investigators and intelligence analysts from a range of crime fighting bodies, has succeeded in seizing 12 tonnes of illicit substances and pre-cursor chemicals, 114 tonnes of loose leaf tobacco and 92.7 million individual cigarettes.

Based on that success Mr Clare said the Federal Government would now establish task forces in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Discussions with Queensland police will commence shortly to establish the Brisbane taskforce. It is expected that this taskforce will begin work in early 2013.

Polaris also provided advice on the next stages to combat organised crime and strengthen security on the waterfront.

Mr Clare said the taskforce had confirmed that organised criminals were targeting and exploiting workers on the waterfront.

Based on the advice the Federal Government announced it would implement 11 steps "to combat this threat".

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