Australian government pledges $293.6m for airport security

Security upped, funding upped.
Australian airport security to be enhanced. Source: MDRX.

The Australian Government will strengthen security at airports, international mail centres and air cargo facilities over four years as part of a comprehensive $293.6 million package of new initiatives announced in its 2018-19 annual Budget.

Upped security

Sophisticated new screening technology for passengers, baggage and cargo will be required at airports with financial assistance to regional airports to upgrade their security equipment.

The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said the planned terrorist attacks disrupted in Sydney in July last year were unprecedented, sophisticated and represented a significant change in the national security environment. “The Government and industry responded immediately to disrupt and contain the threat, increasing law enforcement and strengthening security screening,” Mr Dutton said.

The new security measures in the 2018-19 Budget will include:

  • Use of body scanners and advanced X-ray equipment at major and regional Australian airports.
  • Deployment of more than 140 additional AFP Counter Terrorist First Response officers at airports and a further 50 officers to provide tactical intelligence and other support.
  • Upgrades to inbound air cargo and international mail screening technology.
  • Improved training and accreditation of all screening staff at airports.
  • $50.1 million in funding to support regional airports to upgrade security.

“I will introduce new laws to complement these measures providing the AFP broader powers to conduct identity checks at airports and to order a person to ‘move on’ from airport premises where needed,” Mr Dutton said.

“These initiatives will ensure Australia remains a trusted destination for trade and travel and a world-leader in aviation security.”

The Turnbull Government will work with airports and airlines to implement the enhanced security measures.

Front foot

The 2018-19 Budget also provides $6.9 million over two years to continue the work of Australian Border Force Airline Liaison Officers (ALOs) at 19 key overseas international airports, as part of Australia’s border security network.

ALOs are skilled in document examination, impostor detection and passenger assessment. They provide airlines and local governments on-the-spot advice on passenger assessment and Australia’s entry requirements. In the past five years ALOs have stopped more than 1000 passengers who have attempted to board a flight to Australia as an impostor or with a fraudulent document.

A further $59.1 million will be provided over four years towards the Commonwealth and States joint build of the National Criminal Intelligence System (NCIS), which will provide frontline police the information and intelligence they need to combat crime and disrupt the terrorism threat.

The system will give Australia’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies a national and unified picture of criminal activity, supporting the collation and sharing of criminal intelligence and information across State, Territory and Commonwealth law enforcement.

“Through these new measures and funding initiatives, the Government is ensuring the Home Affairs Portfolio and security agencies have the tools needed to keep Australia open for business while managing the increasingly complex security environment,” Mr Dutton said.

Funding of $68.6 million over four years was also announced to establish the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) announced in March. ACCCE will save exploited children, prosecute those abusing them, disrupt distribution of horrific abuse related materials and pursue the criminals profiting from this trade.

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