International drug dealers see money paid to corrupt Australian law enforcement officials as a mere "line item" in their multi-million-dollar criminal schemes, an inquiry has heard.
Integrity Commissioner Michael Griffin made the comment at an inquiry hearing into the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity's annual report in Canberra on Friday.
ACLEI is the watchdog which probes serious and systemic corruption in agencies and departments such as Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Australian Federal Police.
Mr Griffin said one focus in the past year had been sophisticated organised criminals seeking to bring drugs, weapons and people illegally into Australia by corrupting law enforcement officials.
"We are dealing with sophisticated organised crime groups who have a very large financial incentive to penetrate the Australian border," he said.
"To bring drugs that will retail for $5000 an ounce in a source country, for example in China, which will return in the order of $200,000 for same ounce in Australia.
"So the financial incentive and corruption of a law enforcement official becomes merely a line item in the organised crime group's business model."
He said his agency had established a "covert human intelligence source asset" in the past year which was being used with "considerable effect".
Australian Associated Press