One of Australia’s most successful defences against the scourge of illicit drugs will continue, following the extension of the Australia-China joint agency Taskforce Blaze.
Today, in Beijing, I was pleased to witness the Australian Federal Police and Chinese National Narcotics Control Commission signing an agreement to extend the Taskforce until January 2018.
Taskforce Blaze is the first ever joint agency taskforce of its kind in the world, and Australia remains the only country to have such crime fighting cooperation with China.
Since its inception in November 2015, the Taskforce has proven to be one of the single most effective ways of stopping illicit drugs, including ice, from hitting Australian streets.
In 18-months, 10.5 tonnes of illicit drugs and precursors, worth more than $5 billion have been seized, that’s an average of more than half a tonne of drugs and millions of street deals every month.
It includes the seizure of 5,741 kilograms of drugs in China, including 1,734 kg of ice, and more than 4,811 kg of drugs in Australia, including more than 2,748 kg of ice and 1,480kg of cocaine.
The work of Taskforce Blaze is saving lives. Just one hit of an illicit drug can take a life, destroy a family and devastate a community.
The extension of Taskforce Blaze should serve as a warning to the criminals who peddle in the misery of drugs: we will stop you.
Under the new agreement, the scope will continue to focus on expanding investigations into multinational drug smuggling organisations.
Organised crime knows no borders and is clearly a transnational threat shared by our countries and our region.
The Coalition Government is committed to targeting the supply, demand and harm caused to our communities by the scourge of ice and other illicit drugs.