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Philip Morris supports Government’s organised tobacco crime initiative

Philip Morris InternationalPhilip Morris Limited has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to create a new framework to combat the rising problem of organised tobacco crime.

The cigarette multinational said in statement the framework was outlined in the 2018 federal budget and follows Sunday’s announcement by the minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer MP, of the Government’s plans to establish the Illicit Tobacco Taskforce, headed by the Australian Border Force and supported by the Australian Taxation Office.

“Philip Morris welcomes the Federal Government’s plans to combat the illicit tobacco market and organised tobacco crime in Australia. Illicit tobacco now represents a worrying 15 per cent of the total tobacco market in Australia. That amounts to almost $2 billion in foregone excise tax alone each year, and this number is growing,” said Philip Morris Limited managing director, Tammy Chan.

“Tobacco is one of the highest taxed products in Australia. As the Australian Border Force said this week, organised criminals stand to benefit by trafficking in untaxed tobacco to fund their other criminal activities. It is encouraging to see the Government pledge more resources in a bid to disrupt the supply of illicit tobacco and dismantle associated criminal networks.”

Minister O’Dwyer said the Taskforce will focus on investigations and intelligence gathering in an attempt to dismantle illicit tobacco supply chains. Through this work, the Government hopes to raise around $3.6 billion in additional revenue over four years.

The Federal Government’s announcement follows the introduction of a comprehensive legislative reform package earlier this year, aimed at increasing penalties for criminals found guilty of illicit tobacco offences. The announcement also follows the release of a KPMG report last week, which found illicit tobacco had increased to 15 per cent of the total tobacco consumed in Australia in 2017, marking a significant increase from the previous year.

“The KPMG report found there has been a troubling increase in the amount of ‘made to be smuggled’ cigarettes into Australia, as well as an increase in domestically produced illegal tobacco. It’s encouraging to see multiple Government agencies now coming together to tackle this problem,” Chan said.

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