Case Study C3: Maritime Security Identification Card scheme
The Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC) is the centrepiece of the Australian Government's strategy to strengthen security in the maritime industry. Across Australia, the MSIC scheme covers 73 ports and 364 related facilities, 59 ships, and 76 offshore oil and gas facilities and service providers.
In 2006, the Department's challenge was to identify, locate and communicate with more than 60,000 maritime industry workers and convince them to apply for their cards in time for the scheme's commencement on 1 January 2007. The message for Australia's maritime workers was simple: from 1 January, anyone who worked in the secure areas of Australian ports, ships or offshore oil and gas operations would need an MSIC to do their job.
The Department consulted widely with industry representatives during 2006, both to alert the industry to the need for the card, and to draw on the experience and knowledge of stakeholders in mapping out its communication strategy.
The Department used a range of tools to communicate with maritime workers, including:
- a range of brochures aimed at different sectors within the industry, such as truck drivers and stevedores;
- a website with explanatory material, and a telephone hotline for inquiries; and
- large mobile message boards with scrolling messages, placed at the entrances to major ports.
The Department worked with port authorities, shipping lines, stevedoring and freight companies, industry organisations and unions, as well as a number of other government agencies, to distribute MSIC materials.
The campaign received widespread media coverage, particularly in the maritime industry magazines and newsletters. The Minister for Transport and Regional Services took the lead in encouraging workers to apply for their cards.
The campaign was extremely successful: 61,000 cards were issued before the 1 January 2007 deadline, and by mid year more than 86,000 maritime workers were wearing MSICs.
Signs of the times - signs like these went up at most Australian ports and maritime facilities, reminding maritime industry workers to apply for a Maritime Security Identification Card (Photo DOTARS)
The Department continues to liaise closely with maritime industry participants to ensure the MSIC scheme is working efficiently. In addition, the Department also works with background-checking agencies and applicants to minimise any delays in the application process.
From September 2007, responsibility for the background checking of MSIC applicants will be transferred to AusCheck, a new division in the Attorney-General's Department. The Department of Transport and Regional Services will continue to manage the MSIC scheme, as part of its ongoing role in regulating and improving Australia's maritime security.