The Australian Tax Office last month seized more than 21 hectares of illegal tobacco with an estimated excise value of $30 million near Bundaberg, Queensland.
This is the largest cross-jurisdictional illegal-tobacco seizure in the ATO’s history and included a record 28 tonnes of illegal crops as well as 45,000 seedlings.
“The ATO takes the detection and prosecution of illegal-tobacco growers very seriously to help protect the community from the domestic illegal-tobacco trade,” Assistant Commissioner Peter Vujanic said.
“Engaging in the illegal tobacco trade not only supports organised criminal syndicates, it also robs the community by denying them of taxes that would be raised.”
The search warrants were issued with the assistance of Queensland Police and other Commonwealth agencies, demonstrating the importance of ongoing cross-agency collaboration to detect and deal with offenders.
Growing tobacco without an excise licence has been illegal in Australia for more than a decade and there is no legal avenue for Australian-grown tobacco to be manufactured and sold.