Illicit Tobacco Industry Advisory Group

Terms of Reference

Illicit tobacco is identified as one of the Department's operational priorities, due to its negative impact on government revenue and its facilitation by serious and organised crime groups.

As part of our Tobacco Strategy 2015-2018, we have committed to working with industry to continue to prevent, deter and disrupt the illicit trade in tobacco.

Role of the Industry Advisory Group

The Illicit Tobacco Industry Advisory Group enables industry and government to work together to eliminate the trade in illicit tobacco.

The Illicit Tobacco Industry Advisory Group will allow industry members and government representatives to share information about the illicit tobacco environment, including tobacco trade flows, supply chain security and the illicit tobacco market, and work together on measures that address illicit tobacco.

The Illicit Tobacco Industry Advisory Group will operate within the parameters of Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Membership

The Illicit Tobacco Industry Advisory Group will be chaired by the First Assistant Secretary Traveller, Customs and Industry Policy Division of the Department.

The Illicit Tobacco Industry Advisory Group will include representatives of government, tobacco suppliers and tobacco retailers. Other representatives of the tobacco industry may be invited to participate at the discretion of the Chairperson.

Frequency and Conduct of Meetings and Reporting

The committee will meet twice yearly; however, meetings may occur more frequently if required. Secretariat services will be provided by the Trade Revenue Policy Section, Trade and Customs Branch, Traveller, Customs and Industry Policy Division, the Department.

Review

A review of the Illicit Tobacco Industry Advisory Group is expected to be undertaken annually. This document will be included in the annual review.

Summary of meeting

Friday 5 February 2016

Members agreed to the terms of reference and noted that the IAG would provide a forum for government and industry to work together, as appropriate, to combat the trade in illicit tobacco. In particular, it would support information sharing and provide a forum for government to seek industry’s perspective on relevant proposed reform initiatives. Members reiterated their willingness to share information.

The work of our Tobacco Strike Team (TST), which had been focusing on dismantling networks and disrupting illicit supply chains, was noted. The TST regularly received information from industry, and much of the TST’s success to date had resulted from its positive relationship with industry.

Members agreed there was a need for public awareness of the serious criminal implications of the illicit tobacco trade.

It was agreed the next IAG meeting would take place in April or May 2016.

Attendees included Philip Morris Limited (Australia), Imperial Tobacco Australia, British American Tobacco Australia, Alliance of Australian Retailers, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Australia Taxation Office, Department of Health, Treasury, Australian Crime Commission, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Friday 27 May 2016

The Illicit Tobacco Industry Advisory Group (IAG) meeting held on 27 May 2016 was attended by representatives from Philip Morris Limited (Australia), Imperial Tobacco Australia, British American Tobacco Australia, Alliance of Australian Retailers, Australasian Association of Convenience Stores Limited, Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Australian Taxation Office.

Members discussed topics including:

  • work being overseen by the Illicit Tobacco Interdepartmental Committee
  • work of our TST
  • KPMG report ‘Illicit tobacco in Australia’
  • the Border Watch programme, which is the central point for reporting information about illicit tobacco for us
  • technology used by industry to gather information about the tobacco it manufactures.

Members agreed that the next IAG meeting would take place prior to November 2016.

Friday 28 October 2016

The Illicit Tobacco Industry Advisory Group (IAG) meeting held on 28 October 2016 was attended by representatives from Philip Morris Limited (Australia), Imperial Tobacco Australia, British American Tobacco Australia, Alliance of Australian Retailers, Australian Retailers Association, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Australian Taxation Office, Treasury, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Members discussed topics including:

  • the implementation of 2016-17 Budget illicit tobacco measures
  • the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s TST operational update
  • retailer updates
  • industry updates including results of the recent Empty Pack Survey
  • the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Border Watch programme
  • committee governance.

Members agreed that the next IAG meeting would take place in April 2017.

Tuesday 2 May 2017

The Illicit Tobacco Industry Advisory Group (IAG) meeting held on 2 May 2017 was attended by representatives from Philip Morris Limited (Australia), Imperial Tobacco Australia, British American Tobacco Australia, Alliance of Australian Retailers, Australian Retailers Association, Richland Express, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Australian Taxation Office, Department of Health, Treasury, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The main topics of discussion included:

  • implementation of tobacco-related measures in the 2016-17 Budget
  • the work of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Tobacco Strike Team
  • the 2016 KPMG Illicit Tobacco in Australia report
  • annual review of the IAG Terms of Reference.

Members agreed that the next IAG meeting would take place in November 2017.

Thursday 2 November 2017

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection co-chaired a joint meeting of the Illicit Tobacco Industry Advisory Group (IAG) and the Tobacco Stakeholder Group with the Australian Taxation Office on 2 November 2017. The meeting was attended by representatives from Philip Morris Limited (Australia), Imperial Tobacco Australia, British American Tobacco Australia, Alliance of Australian Retailers, Australian Retailers Association, Richland Express, Treasury, Australian Federal Police, and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The meeting served to provide members with an update on:

  • aggregate enforcement statistics relating to seizures and prosecutions
  • development of the tobacco tax gap analysis
  • implementation of the tobacco-related measures announced by Government
  • industry’s latest results for its Empty Pack Survey.

Members agreed that the next IAG meeting would take place in April 2018.