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Report on Performance

STOP PRESS-WHEELER REPORT HANDED DOWN

In June 2005 the government announced a major review of security and policing at Australian airports. This followed concerns about possible criminal activity at airports as any weaknesses exploited by criminals could also be utilised by terrorists.

The review, headed up by former minister and UK security expert the Right Hon Sir John Wheeler, examined the threat from serious and organised crime at airports, the integration of ground-based security and law enforcement arrangements, and the adequacy of existing security requirements.

The department established and contributed senior staff to the 13-member review secretariat including Kym Bills from ATSB and Andy Turner from OTS, and supported the inquiry until its completion in September 2005.

Responding to the report on 21 September, the Prime Minister announced a number of new security measures, several of which directly involve our department. They include:

  • $38.0 million to strengthen air cargo security arrangements-this includes funding for the Australian Customs Service to improve its explosive detection capabilities
  • $23.4 million for improved security and crime information exchange arrangements for aviation, with another $20.5 million to be provided to the Australian Crime Commission
  • an immediate review of the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 and associated regulations
  • further tightening of background checking and processing arrangements for the issue of Aviation Security Identification Cards, and
  • $3.8 million to introduce a new national aviation security training framework to support the aviation industry.

Implementing these measures in partnership with industry and other agencies will be a major priority for the department in 200506.

A copy of the Wheeler Report is available at www.aspr.gov.au