Air Cargo Security Newsletter—November 2014—Issue 9

Welcome to the Ninth Edition of Air Cargo Security News

The Office of Transport Security, part of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, has been working with industry to develop a more secure end-to-end supply chain for our air cargo exports.

In this issue:

Air Cargo Supply Chain Security—Next steps

In early 2015, OTS will consult with the air cargo industry on a package of proposed reforms to improve air cargo security.

A number of drivers are being considered in developing a proposed framework, including:

  • ensuring security measures are aligned to the current risk to the air cargo sector;
  • maintaining favourable trading arrangements within key export markets;
  • maintaining trade in a heightened security environment; and
  • ensuring that any additional costs to industry are kept to a minimum.

The Department will soon commence consultation with industry over these reform activities, including directly with freight forwarders and through peak industry representative bodies.

back to top

National Terrorist Threat Level raised

On 12 September, the Prime Minister announced that Australia's national terrorism alert level would change from medium to high. This was in response to advice from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation about changes in our security environment including a mounting body of evidence that points to the increased likelihood of a terrorist attack in Australia.

The Department recognises that there is already a strong security focus in the sector with robust measures in place to address security threats such as physical security measures, examination practices and chain of custody arrangements.

As a result, a decision was made not to direct industry participants to implement any additional measures at this time.

However, industry participants are encouraged to increase vigilance and take steps to increase security awareness in their business; such as increasing communications and signage about security in and around the premises.

Further information on the revised level of alert to the National Terrorism Public Alert System, can be found on the Australian National Security website at

back to top

Transport Security Outlook to 2025

On 30 September the Department released the Transport Security Outlook to 2025 (the Outlook). The Outlook was commissioned by the Department to forecast the likely future for transport security in Australia and give the OTS a basis to work more effectively with stakeholders in planning for the future. The Outlook's environmental scan identifies key drivers in the transport environment in the next five to ten years, and highlights the role effective and efficient transport security will play in supporting Australia's economic and social prosperity.

The Outlook also points out that the Department's current approach to regulation will face increasing strain in the future as it faces industry growth and increasing passenger and trade volumes across all transport modes. It also forecasts continuing diversity in the size and sophistication of transport industry operators, and the Government's focus on returning the budget to surplus. For the Department and the OTS in particular, this means increasingly focusing on risk-based, flexible, proportionate, efficient and cost-effective security approaches.

The Department encourages industry participants to consider the Outlook's findings and key trends in thinking about future planning. A copy of the Outlook can be found on the Department's website:

back to top

Security Awareness Training Product

The Department has released new security awareness products to all Accredited Air Cargo Agents (AACAs) and RACAs. The new products are an online training module—Air Cargo Security Awareness Training, and a guidance document for delivering and assessing of security awareness training. These products will assist AACAs and RACAs meet their regulatory obligations to provide security awareness training to employees engaged in air cargo activities.

Air Cargo Security Awareness Training highlights the importance of protecting Australia's air cargo system and will help staff understand the role they play. It includes interactive content, assessment questions and covers topics such as:

  • the air cargo risk environment;
  • measures to protect the security of cargo;
  • signs of suspicious activity and cargo; and
  • reporting procedures for incidents.

RACAs can choose to use the new online product to provide security awareness information to staff, although they will still have flexibility to provide their own training or use a third party training provider. For AACA businesses the new product will replace the current online program that is accessed during the accreditation process.

The Department has commenced emailing all AACA and RACA businesses to provide them with logon details.

If you would like to know more about the security awareness products you can view the Frequently Asked Questions available on the Department's website.

Click to view larger image

back to top

Examination of export air cargo

The Secretary of the Department recently made an important decision in relation to examination of export air cargo.

RACAs are required to clear air cargo in accordance with an approved transport security program (TSP). Export air cargo is subject to additional technical examination by select RACAs in accordance with an Air Cargo Examination (ACE) Notice issued under the Aviation Transport Security Regulations 2005. The ACE Notice applies at cargo terminal operator (CTO) sites at the major airports across Australia and requires the examination of international air cargo.

Throughout 2013 the Department conducted an air cargo examination pilot study to analyse and develop improved air cargo examination policy and practices. The pilot included a number of non-CTO freight-forwarding RACAs operating facilities in off-airport locations that currently examine air cargo using high specification X-ray and explosive trace detection (ETD) equipment. As a result, the Department has determined that in some circumstances there is a duplication of examination effort because CTOs are required by the ACE Notice to examine international air cargo in circumstances where cargo has already been examined to an appropriate standard by another RACA.

The Department will be working closely with a number of businesses that have high standard technology-based examination capability over the coming months to formally recognise businesses that have suitable equipment and are capable of meeting requisite examination standards. Air cargo that is examined by those businesses under a formal regulatory arrangement will not be required to be re-examined at the CTO in accordance with the current ACE Notice, provided a secure supply chain is maintained between locations.

Consultation with prospectively affected parties will commence in the near future. We encourage those that are interested to contact Clint Rosewarne via

back to top

Proposed RACA TSP and regulatory changes

In August 2014 the Department consulted with the air cargo industry on proposed regulatory changes focussed on reducing the administrative burden of preparing and maintaining an approved TSP. The proposed regulatory changes would:

  1. Remove duplicate and unnecessary requirements in TSPs;
  2. Increase flexibility for industry to meet regulatory requirements; and
  3. Clarify and simplify regulatory requirements.

The Department also proposed amendments which will allow for variations to an AACA Security Program (ASP) at the initiation of either the Secretary or the AACA.

Feedback received during the consultation period was positive and assisted the Department in furthering the proposed changes.  The Deputy Prime Minister is currently considering these changes.

If you would like more information about the future air cargo supply chain security framework or to provide us with feedback, please contact the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

Phone 1800 007 024 (Free Call)

back to top