The Australian Crime Commission’s 30 year-old Australian Criminal Intelligence Database (ACID) is in need of replacement, according to its new Chief Executive Officer.
CEO of the ACC, Chris Dawson told a Senate Estimates Committee “the fundamental piece of infrastructure that an intelligence agency needs is a contemporary information technology and intelligence platform,” however, it does not have the capital funding to replace ACID.
He said, “the agency capital budget will be $4.812 million, which is insufficient to cover adequate replenishment of the ACC's asset base”, or “new systems”.
The ACC completed a scoping study into the replacement of ACID in 2013 but it cannot follow-through until it secures the funding.
In addition, the agency is operating far below its estimated level of minimum staffing. Dawson estimates that the agency needs 600 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff “to be fully effective”, however, it is currently operating with 524. By 2017-18 this number is expected to drop to 450.
It’s anticipated that the ACC’s Fusion program which has been developed over the last two years will avoid budget cuts. Fusion is a joint-agency initiative aimed at information sharing, data matching and analytics to track down organised crime.
Dawson said, “I will be ensuring that the core capabilities—and fusion is one of those core capabilities—are maintained so that we can continue to deliver the outputs required.”