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Tighter Aviation Security For Christmas And Cocos Islands

Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government

13th May 2003

The Federal Government will provide $2.9 million over four years ($1.8 million in 2003-04) to tighten aviation security at the airports on the Indian Ocean Territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

The Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Wilson Tuckey, said the funding was part of the Government's commitment to increase aviation security since the world-changing events of September 2001.

"The $2.9 million will provide security equipment, training and screening personnel at both airports. The funding will also cover works to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands airport to separate screened and unscreened passengers," Mr Tuckey said.

"The aviation industry is normally responsible for funding security screening in accordance with the Government's requirements. The Government is the owner of the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Island airports so it is appropriate that we meet the cost of these security upgrades.

"The provision of this funding is a clear statement of our strong commitment to ensuring that the people of Cocos (Keeling) and Christmas Islands are provided with services in line with those on the mainland. The Government continues to work closely with the aviation industry to improve security and will keep our security requirements under continuous review as the threat environment changes," Mr Tuckey said.

The Government has substantially tightened Australia's aviation security since 11 September 2001, with measures including:

  • Tighter passenger and carry-on bag screening, including the introduction of upgraded equipment and its extension to more regional airports;
  • The deployment of more than 150 extra Australian Protective Service (APS) officers trained in the Counter Terrorism First Response role at 11 airports throughout Australia, bringing the total number of APS officers at airports to more than 400;
  • Armed Air Security Officers on domestic flights, with negotiations underway to expand the programme to selected international routes;
  • The forthcoming introduction of enhanced cockpit security measures;
  • The introduction of 100 percent checked bag screening for all international flights by 31 December 2004, a full year ahead of the deadline imposed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation; and
  • The introduction of a level of checked bag screening for domestic services at major airports, on the same timetable;
  • Enhanced security measures for international air cargo.

Media contact: Graeme Hallett 02 6277 7060 / 0419 688 440