Sydney ( Press Release): Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison, today announced $88 million of additional funding to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) to increase screening and examination of international mail, air cargo and sea cargo.
“This significant investment in the security of Australia’s borders demonstrates the Coalition Government’s ongoing commitment to tackling organised crime,” Minister Morrison said.
“These new funds will help build our Customs and Border Protection Service’s capabilities after years of budget and staffing cuts under the previous Labor Government.
“The Coalition Government is committed to meeting threats on our borders wherever they appear and ensuring this resolve is backed by the right policies and necessary funding.
“Customs and Border Protection will increase inspections of high risk cargo and mail and also increase the intensity of examinations which will maximise the potential for stopping illegal firearms and drugs before they hit our streets.
“Inspection rates of international mail and air cargo will increase by 25 and 33 per cent respectively and the examination of sea cargo in the major ports of Sydney and Melbourne will increase by nearly 20 per cent.
“This will result in an additional 1500 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) containers being physically examined by ACBPS officers in sea cargo environment.
“There will now be additional equipment, new technology, and extra Customs and Border Protection officers to enhance the capability of the Service to undertake the examination of cargo.
“The funding will be allocated across a number of areas, including:$30.1 million to increase inspections of international mail to 50 million inspections per year (up from 40 million per year) and to increase inspections of air cargo to two million inspections per year (up from 1.5 million);
- $24 million to expand the operations of container examination facilities in Sydney and Melbourne and increase the number of containers physically examined per year in those ports;
- $15.7 million in new technology including mobile x-ray and detection technology to provide increased capability, flexibility and agility in the inspection and examination of air and sea cargo;
- $8.5 million to expand the ACBPS Detector Dog Program to provide an additional 15 detector dog teams to support the increased inspection and examination of cargo;
- $5.7 million to create a new investigation squad which will work with existing law enforcement taskforces to investigate and arrest firearm and drug traffickers; and
- $4 million to create a specialist examination capability to develop and enhance the ability of ACBPS officers to search and examine cargo.
“Today’s funding announcement also includes $3.7 million to provide eight additional officers to support the intelligence activities necessary to target and identify high risk illicit cargo.
“The ACBPS approach to target and identify high risk illicit cargo has resulted in record illicit drug seizures and other prohibited goods by the ACBPS, and this funding will ensure this continues.
“This will complement other key initiatives currently being undertaken by the ACBPS and its law enforcement partners to target criminal activities. This includes work being undertaken to address the illegal activities of Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs, regulation and interception of firearms, and the establishment of the National Border Targeting Centre,” Minister Morrison said.