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Australian Government Tightens Maritime Security

John Anderson, Deputy Prime Minister,  Minister for Transport and Regional Services and Leader of the Nationals

TRS10/Budget 10th May 2005

The Australian Government will require security to be tightened at the country's 56 offshore oil and gas platforms. The cost of auditing the requirement is part of the four year, $47.5 million boost to Australia's port and maritime security announced in today's Budget.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, said the new security measures would cost an additional $10.3 million in 2005-06.

"The Government will be introducing legislation into Parliament to bring Australia's offshore oil and gas facilities into the maritime security regime. These facilities will be required to develop security plans and introduce preventive security measures from 30 September 2005," Mr Anderson said.

"The Government will bear the cost of auditing and checking the industry's compliance with our security requirements; the industry will be responsible for the cost of the security measures.

"The extra funding will dramatically increase the Government's capacity to inspect foreign ships entering Australian ports. Eleven thousand foreign ships visit Australia each year, and every ship is assessed to check that it holds an International Ship Security Certificate.

"The Office of Transport Security will now be able to expand its programme of physically inspecting ships, and will focus on vessels from high-risk countries, as well as vessels carrying passengers, oil, gas, or chemicals.

"All persons who have unsupervised access to a security regulated maritime facility or zone will have to hold a Maritime Security Identification Card, which will involve police and ASIO background checks. The security identification scheme is expected to be fully operational by 1 July 2006. It is expected that more than 100,000 cards will be issued.

"The Government will step up its rolling programme of annual security audits, which will cover 436 regulated maritime industry participants: 71 ports, 172 port facilities, 82 port service providers, 55 Australian flag ships and the 56 newly regulated offshore oil and gas facilities.

"These measures will considerably tighten security at Australia's ports and maritime facilities. The measures reflect the importance of these facilities to our economy and the devastating impact that a terrorist attack could have on one of our major ports," Mr Anderson said.

Today's announcement builds on the $102.0 million package of maritime security measures that the Government announced in July 2004. The measures in this package included:

  • an additional $48.0 million over four years to increase the rate of container examination at the Australian Customs Service container x-ray facilities in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle;
  • enabling Customs to board more vessels at the first port of arrival in Australia at a cost of $9.3 million;
  • extending the Customs closed circuit television network from 32 ports to 63 ports at a cost of $17.0 million over four years;
  • posting specialist immigration officials to ports to assist with border control at a cost of $12.3 million over four years;
  • additional resources to further strengthen intelligence collection and the provision of intelligence information within key ports.

Transport security liaison officers

The Government will allocate $6.0 million over four years ($1.5 million in 2005-06) from the Department of Transport and Regional Services' existing resources to place transport security liaison officers at key overseas posts in south-east Asia.

"The liaison officers will work with their counterparts in Indonesia, the Philippines and the Pacific region. They will assist our near neighbours to increase their aviation and maritime security - including the security of the planes and ships that then travel to Australia," Mr Anderson said.

 

Media contacts:
Paul Chamberlin Mr Anderson's office 02 6277 7680 / 0419 233 989