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New security checks for airside airport workers

written by australianaviation.com.au | October 23, 2017

Airport staff will be subject to random explosive trace testing.
Airport staff will be subject to random explosive trace testing.

Airport staff who work airside at Australia’s major airports will be the focus of additional security measures being introduced to protect the travelling public, Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester says.

The new rules include random explosive trace screening for the 140,000 Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC) holders – staff such as baggage handlers, catering workers or engineers, among others – working airside at Australia’s nine major airports.

There will also be more security training and tighter access controls, it was announced on Sunday, with the full rollout of measures to be introduced by January 2019.

The new security arrangements were part of a package of measures that passed through Parliament in March.

Chester said the random explosive trace detection would be conducted either during the day, or when they enter the workplace.

Further, the Minister said the government was acting on the latest advice from intelligence agencies in Australia and overseas.

“It will be random, it will be unpredictable, and we believe it is an effective way of deterring that small minority of people who would seek to do us harm,” Chester told reporters in Canberra on Monday, according to a transcript released by the Minister’s office.


“We are constantly working with our security agencies to make sure that we are responding to new or emerging threats. There is no question the insider threat is one of those that we need to keep working on as a government.”

Chester said there had been no specific threat the government was responding to.

In August, increased security screening was temporarily brought in for travellers at Australia’s airports after Australian Federal Police and NSW Police raided homes in Sydney after receiving intelligence of a threat to smuggle a home-made explosive device to bring down a passenger aircraft.


Comments (7)

  • ScottyBott


    When you can’t come up with good procedures, you go forward with draconian heavy handed enforcement with the big stick and the ‘consequences are not our problem’ attitude.

    This pathetic approach provides NO PROTECTION to out-of-hours operations when these ‘gestapo’ are tucked safely home in their warm beds..

    How unoriginal, but how Australian…. to implement ‘security theatre’ rather than good security. Its all for show..

  • AlanH


    ScottyBott this isn’t how I imagine it will work. The article says “Random explosive trace detection would be conducted either during the day, or when they enter the workplace”, which could mean anytime of the day or night. At least this is a step in the right direction. It is hardly “Gestapo” tactics to do random screening to protect the flying public. Until now, the easiest way to get an explosive device onto an aircraft is via the baggage handlers. I don’t see how this can be regarded as “theatre”.

  • Mick


    So true

  • Adrian P


    Every body at Heathrow gets screened going airside.
    I was a volunteer during the Olympics and Paralympics and had to empty my water bottle prior to going airside and I was always screened.

    Why bother screening passengers with all its costs with a massive hole in security like this. Appalling.
    The favorite quote of terrorists is “We only need to be lucky some of the time , you have to be lucky all of the time.” Australia is trusting to luck.

  • RobertP


    Sorry to say this response may be a bit controversial but —-
    All workers and I mean ALL WORKERS are screened on entering to terminals not once but many times – and if not at terminal it is at their point of entry to the airport – with wands and their possessions (bags) are visually inspected – It seems the pilots are the one highlighting and complaining as they did not see ground staff being wand at the aircraft doors when they have to be screened at the terminal entrance –‘the why me mentality’ – I think a mentally deranged pilot is more dangerous to the travelling public than a loan baggage handler – as we have seen with – eurowing – silkair – etc. The security at major airports is administered and controlled by the airport as dictated by the AFP and Government policy. Security checks very tight at airports in Australia the airport owners have security patrolling 24/7 and do random ID checks of airside employee’s no matter who they are or where they work. All vehicles enter through one gate where they are checked and if not approved are escorted

  • Chris


    Can’t see the problem, it’s not like we’re going all out Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International security screening.

  • Steve


    Let’s start by a detailed screening of the screening staff.

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