The federal government has announced a $200 million package aimed at upgrading aviation security in line with the recently released Aviation White Paper and heightened security since the attempted terrorist attack on a Delta Air Lines service on Christmas Day.
Announced in a joint statement from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor, the package is aimed to further strengthen Australia’s “world class aviation security regime” by increasing passenger and baggage screening at a number of airports, increasing the presence of Australian Federal Police at airports, and the adoption of new technologies in passenger screening and profiling.
A key part of the package will see the government provide $28.5 million to increase the number of passengers subject to explosive trace detection at domestic and international airports, as well as assisting the industry to introduce new generation screening technologies, such as body scanners, at airports around Australia. The body scanners will be progressively introduced at international airports by early 2011, while there will also be a trial in partnership with the US and UK on improving detection of liquid based explosives as part of a separate $18.2 million package aimed at increasing international cooperation on aviation security.
The government has also announced that it will provide $32 million to bring forward security screening at a number of regional airports currently served by turboprop aircraft where passenger screening does not currently operate, such as Longreach, Barcaldine and Blackall. This is in line with its intention to introduce passenger and baggage screening to such airports as outlined in the Aviation White Paper.
Additional funds will also be allocated to increase the number of firearms and explosive detection dogs at major international airports, as well as an increased presence by the AFP at airports. The government will also provide $24.9 million for new technology as part of Customs’ Enhanced Passenger Assessment and Clearance Program to enable the service to share data and intelligence more efficiently with other border protection and law enforcement agencies, as well as an increase in risk profiling to identify possible national security risks.
Cargo security will also be strengthened with $54.2 million allocated to assist industry to install cargo x-ray and explosive trace testing at selected locations, as well as the establishment of a regulated shipper scheme.