Ministerial Direction

This Ministerial Direction (PDF, 3MB) is issued under subsection 37(2) of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 (the AFP Act). It supersedes and revokes the previous Direction issued on 12 May 2014, and complements the Direction issued on 8 August 2019 relating to investigative action involving unauthorised disclosures to media organisations.

The Government is committed to ensuring the safety and security of Australians and Australia’s interests. The AFP plays a key role in protecting the community as well as Australia’s interests. My expectation is that the AFP delivers all functions under section 8 of the AFP Act, and will focus its activities to maximise its impact upon the criminal environment.

In the current environment, the expected focus areas for the AFP are:

Countering terrorism, espionage and foreign interference

  • Prevent and disrupt violent extremist threats within Australia including the risks posed by foreign fighters, the release of High Risk Terrorist Offenders and residual risk of domestic radicalised persons.
  • Provide critical specialist support and investigate harmful espionage and foreign interference affecting Australia's national interests.

Combatting child exploitation

  • Identify, disrupt, pursue and prosecute child sex offenders, preventing the exploitation of children and removing victims from harm.
  • Drive a collaborative, national response to counter the online exploitation of children through the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE).

Transnational serious and organised crime

  • Prevent, deter, disrupt and investigate organised criminal activities affecting Australia, including illicit drug importation, firearms offences and money laundering.
  • Disrupt the economic incentives of organised criminal groups, restraining criminal assets and removing the profits of crime.
  • Contribute to Australia’s international law enforcement interests through cooperating with international partners to combat crime and corruption, responding to international emergencies, and building law and order capacity.

Cyber crime

  • Deter malicious actors from targeting the Australian cyber environment across government, industry, and the community, including systems of national significance.
  • Reducing the impact and harm to everyday Australians from cybercrime.  
  • Prevent and investigate technology-enabled crime, disrupting criminal groups exploiting anonymising technologies and clandestine networks to harm Australians and Australian interests.

Fraud and anti-corruption

  • Protect Commonwealth revenue, by deterring, disrupting and investigating serious or complex fraud and corruption against the Commonwealth, especially criminal exploitation of the Government’s COVID-19 response.
  • Work with partner agencies to strengthen the Commonwealth’s resilience to fraud and corruption.

Provision of Specialist Protection Services and operations

  • Ensure the safety, security and freedom of movement of Australian High Office Holders in support of their official duties within Australia and offshore.
  • Safeguard the security and dignity of identified foreign dignitaries whilst on Australian soil.
  • Ensure the security of Commonwealth assets and critical infrastructure in support of Australia’s national security and economic interests.
  • Prevent, disrupt and respond to security and criminal threats at Australia’s designated airports, ensuring integrity of Australia’s borders and facilitating safe travel of Australian’s and foreign visitors. 
  • Ensure the safety of AFP members, capabilities and policing infrastructure.
  • Work with the communities of the ACT, Jervis Bay, Norfolk Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Islands to address victim-based crime, threats to community safety and serious and organised crime.
  • Provide expertise, training, development and support to neighbouring law enforcement partners to enhance the security of the region and protect Australia’s national interests.

In delivering against these priorities, I have high expectations that the AFP operates in a collaborative, accountable and responsive manner. In this regard, I expect the AFP to:

  • Utilise all available strategies to combat criminal activity
    • Mobilise the AFP’s international footprint in the pursuit of maximum impact on this Government’s areas of focus.
    • Capitalise on all opportunities to remove profits from crime, targeting criminals financial benefits and removing the incentives for criminality.
    • Consider all avenues available to target criminals, including coercive ACIC powers and innovative disruption methodologies employed by partner agencies.
  • Work collaboratively to achieve its goals
    • Strong engagement within the Home Affairs Portfolio, ensuring a connected approach with the Department and Portfolio Agencies.
    • Close collaboration with state and territory policing partners, providing support and access to Commonwealth resources, intelligence and capabilities.
    • Ongoing liaison with domestic and international partners to execute law enforcement and crime prevention strategies to protect Australia and its global region.
  • Create an efficient, effective workforce
    • Continue the efforts to embed a regional command structure, ensuring the AFP is best placed to respond to criminal threats and strengthen its local partnerships.
    • Continue to grow a high-performing, innovative and values-driven policing agency that prioritises the development of its people, and their health and wellbeing in the pursuit of operational outcomes. 
  • Demonstrate best corporate practice
    • Ensure strong corporate governance and information management, and comply with relevant legislative requirements such as the PGPA Act.
    • Provide advice to Government concerning emerging risks and criminal threats.
    • Raise issues affecting the AFP’s performance and capacity to achieve priorities in a timely and comprehensive manner.


The Hon Peter Dutton MP - Minister for Home Affairs

Minister for Home Affairs - Ministerial Direction to Australian Federal Police Commissioner relating to investigative action involving a professional journalist or news media organisation in the context of an unauthorised disclosure of material made or obtained by a current or former Commonwealth officer.

If it doesn't add up, speak up. Call the National Security Hotline - 1800 123 400.

Read the AFP Annual Report 2021-22

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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