Other transport programs

Program 2.1-Transport Security (continued)

Detailed report on performance

The following report is against the components of Program 2.1 as set out in the 2009–10 PBS. The component called ‘Transport security inspections’ in the 2009–10 PBS is now called ‘Transport security inquiries’ to better reflect the activities undertaken.

I. Domestic engagement

The Department engaged extensively with the industry and Australian intelligence and law enforcement communities throughout the year to ensure that it maintained a contemporary understanding of the transport security threat and risk environment.

The Department collected, investigated and analysed maritime and aviation security event and incident reporting to assist in identifying and mitigating security vulnerabilities within the aviation and maritime transport sectors.

The Department was an active participant in a range of whole-of-government national security activities. These activities included programs to enhance the national crisis and consequence management framework; national contingency planning; and injection of transport security advice into the national security policy development process.

The Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 was amended to allow more effective outcomes based transport security regulation of security regulated ships, including passenger ship operations.

The Maritime Transport and Offshore Security Regulations 2003 were amended to provide enhanced security through the Maritime Security Identity Card scheme.

II. International engagement

During 2009–10, the Department continued its international engagement through bilateral engagement, regional dialogues and transport security capacity-building activities in the Asia-Pacific region. Officers posted to Australian diplomatic missions in Indonesia, the Philippines and the United States worked collaboratively with departmental officers in Australia to assist with the delivery of these activities.

The Department also participated in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade International Counter Terrorism Coordination Group, established to help strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation and coordination in the region. Through the group, the Department supports and contributes to Australia's whole-of-government counter-terrorism agenda.

Engagement with multilateral institutions

The Department engaged with a number of international organisations dealing with transport security issues during 2009–10.

  • The Department continued as a member of the security sub-groups of the Aviation Experts Group and the Maritime Experts Group of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Transportation Working Group.
  • The Department was a member of the Pacific Maritime Association and provided maritime security technical assistance and advice on a range of port security issues to countries in the South Pacific.

The Department continued to play a leading role in facilitating an informal mechanism for high-level discussions between Australia, Canada, the European Commission and the United States. These strategic discussions focused on global transport security issues and helped shape international responses to transport security threats. These high-level discussions provided for ongoing cooperation and harmonisation in transport security policy and regulation, to address global threats to transport security.

Cooperation in the region

During 2009–10, the Department continued to assist countries in the Asia-Pacific region to enhance their compliance with international transport security standards, including the International Maritime Organization (IMO) International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 17 standards.

In South East Asia, the Department:

  • delivered practical and theoretical training activities to assist the Indonesian Directorate General of Civil Aviation to plan, implement and regulate aviation security at Jakarta and Denpasar Airports
  • sponsored Vietnamese aviation security officials to attend ICAO training, and delivered a range of international standard, aviation security training courses in Vietnam, and
  • supported officers from overseas transport security regulators under the Australian Leadership Awards—Fellowships program from Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and East Timor to undertake short term secondments with the Department.

The Department continued its program of conducting aviation security assessments of international airports with direct flights to Australia. Nine last port of call aviation security assessments were conducted. These include a comprehensive assessment of airport and airline aviation security operations based on Annex 17 to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. The assessment outcomes informed aviation security capacity-building activities with East Timor, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

III. Transport security inquiries

On 2 February 2009, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government formally directed the Inspector of Transport Security to conduct an inquiry into international piracy and armed robbery at sea security. The purpose of the inquiry was to gain an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the impact or potential impact of current worldwide acts of piracy on Australian maritime trade and to identify ways in which security enhancements for Australian international shipping and international shipping carrying Australian cargo and or crew could be further improved.

As part of the inquiry process, the Inspector of Transport Security worked closely with the IMO and the international shipping industry to develop the Australian Shipping Counter Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea Advisory Guidelines. The guidelines, which draw heavily from maritime circulars and best management practices, were developed to provide a broad range of advice for both piracy on the high seas and armed robbery at sea in the territorial waters of a state. They outline the preventive measures that are recommended to detect, deter and prevent piracy and armed robbery at sea attacks. Although their primary focus is on international commercial shipping, they also give advice for fishing vessels and pleasure yachts transiting waters at risk of piracy and armed robbery. The Minister formally launched the guidelines and the supportive brochure at the IMO General Assembly in London on 3 December 2009.

As part of the inquiry process, the Inspector of Transport Security and key members of his team liaised with a range of senior stakeholders including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), INTERPOL, IMO, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), and military, industry and diplomatic stakeholders to complement wider international initiatives. As a direct result of the conduct of the inquiry the opportunity for Australia to make a contribution to the UNODC Counter Piracy Programme arose. An officer from the Office of the Inspector of Transport Security was seconded to the UNODC Counter Piracy Programme in East Africa for a two-month period.

The Inspector of Transport Security completed the inquiry into International Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea Security. The inquiry's final report was presented to the Minister on 22 April 2010, and was tabled in Parliament on 11 May 2010.

Case study-Revision of the prohibited items list

As explained in the National Aviation Policy White Paper: Flight Path to the Future (the Aviation White Paper), Australia's national aviation policy aims to mitigate the key risks to the security of travellers, with minimal disruption to passengers.

One of the policy undertakings made by the Australian Government in the Aviation White Paper, to minimise inconvenience to passengers without compromising security, is to simplify the list of items prohibited from being taken onto aircraft by passengers. The Aviation White Paper lists revisions to the prohibited items list that reflect the current nature and level of threat and international aviation security practice.

When the Aviation White Paper was released, in December 2009, the Australian Government's intention to amend the Aviation Transport Security Regulations 2005 to simplify the prohibited items list received widespread media coverage, such that members of the public may have assumed that the changes had already been made. This potential confusion could have led to delays at airport security screening points, particularly over the busy holiday period, and to travellers losing items that they had justifiably believed they would be allowed to carry.

To avoid such problems, the Department moved quickly to assist the Australian Government to amend the regulations so that the changes could take effect from 25 December 2009. As a result of the amendments, the following items are now permitted to be carried on an aircraft:

  • knitting and crochet needles
  • nail clippers
  • umbrellas with metal points
  • pointed metal nail files, including ones attached to nail clippers
  • corkscrews, and
  • racquets used in squash, tennis, badminton or any other sport.

As well as being convenient for travellers, these changes allow security personnel to focus on the items which pose a high risk to aviation security and improve the flow of passengers through security screening.

The revised regulations also permit the use of rounded metal cutlery on an aircraft or in a landside security zone such as an airport cafeteria. The resulting reduction in plastic cutlery waste going to landfill will have significant environmental benefits.

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Last Updated: 24 October, 2014