Feb 7, 2013

Ministerial Statement: Transport safety and security cooperation with Indonesia

ANTHONY ALBANESE – It is my pleasure to welcome a delegation of distinguished guests from Indonesia who are present in Parliament today.

I acknowledge Indonesia’s Minister for Transportation, His Excellency Lieutenant-General, Evert Ernest Mangindaan  together with officials from his Ministry, and Indonesia’s Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Nadjib Riphat Kesoema.

Minister Mangindaan is here on an official visit and today we will jointly sign a new Transport Security Annex to our recently renewed Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Transport Sector.

Today we will also sign a new Air Services Agreement, demonstrating the strength and importance of our aviation relationship and which will assist the growth plans of airlines in both our countries.

It is my pleasure to update the House on the positive, cooperative relationship Australia and Indonesia share in the important area of regional transport safety and security.

Transport Relationship

Australia has an undeniable interest in working cooperatively with Indonesia to improve the safety, security and efficiency of our transport links — both air and sea.

Indonesia’s burgeoning international aviation industry provides new opportunities and challenges for both countries.

If any evidence is needed that our national orientation has turned towards Asia, our aviation patterns confirm it.

Over just the last year, we’ve seen passenger arrivals from Indonesia increase by thirteen per cent.

Indonesia is also one of Australia’s largest outbound tourist markets.

Every year, there are more than two million passenger movements between our countries.

To accommodate this growth, we have vastly expanded seat capacity to Indonesia, as we have with many of our Asian neighbours.

Many Australians also use the various modes of transport to get around the vast Indonesian archipelago.

Evidently, there is much our transport agencies can learn from one another.

I would like to take this opportunity to update the House on some of the important initiatives we have been working on.

Transport safety cooperation

As I noted, Minister Mangindaan and I will today renewed our MOU covering transport cooperation between our countries.

The updated arrangement ensures the continuation of our very successful transport safety program – the Indonesia Transport Safety Assistance Package, known as ITSAP – that has been in place since 2007.

ITSAP has enjoyed strong bipartisan support since its inception.

To date, Australia has committed some $38.5 million to this program.

This has helped fund more than 50 projects and train more than 1,000 Indonesian government and industry professionals in safety investigation, port control, maritime systems, air navigation, road safety, and search and rescue.

Due to our collective efforts through ITSAP, there is now a single air navigation service provider in Indonesia, similar to our own ‘Airservices Australia’.

We have developed Non-Convention Vessel Standards (NCVS) which modernise the regulation of shipping standards – the formal launch of which I attended in Jakarta, last December.

We have jointly developed and published a ‘Tropical Mountainous Terrain Flying Operations kit’.

Road safety workshops have been held across the most populous regions of the country promoting links between relevant agencies and road safety practitioners.

The partnership work between Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) in transport accident investigation has been particularly useful to both countries.

There have also been five search and rescue exercises involving the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, BASARNAS.

Maritime Search and Rescue Cooperation

Last September, I visited Jakarta along with the Minister for Defence, the Honourable Stephen Smith and the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, the Honourable Jason Clare, to discuss with our Indonesian counterparts ways to improve our two Nation’s maritime search and rescue activities.

Australia agreed to provide an additional $4.42 million to fund a series of new projects, including:

  • An exchange of officers between AMSA and BASARNAS to promote the sharing of knowledge and expertise;
  • Enhanced ship tracking information provided to BASARNAS to help identify ships that can help with search and rescue following a distress call;
  • Enhanced maritime satellite communication technologies for Indonesia to use during search and rescue operations for better coordination with merchant ships; and
  • Additional joint search and rescue exercises and forums to help both our countries achieve international best practice.

Transport Security Cooperation

Apart from our excellent work on transport safety, our bilateral transport security relationship is a matter of great pride to me.

We have worked hard together to deliver international standards of training and security regulation to protect Indonesia’s transport system from acts of terrorism and other acts of unlawful interference.

Our joint work to strengthen air and sea transport systems has been beneficial to everyone in our region.

By identifying and rectifying vulnerabilities, we build a more robust and secure region.

As a result of our close and mature relationship, our Indonesian colleagues have welcomed officers from my Department on long-term secondments as Aviation Security Advisers within the Ministry of Transportation in Bali and Jakarta.

These officers work directly with the regulator, airlines and airports to ensure that our joint investment in capacity building delivers better regional security.

But our security relationship extends beyond government-to-government links.

We are working closely with industry associations and individual companies to achieve our security goals.

These include an advanced X-ray interpretation course being conducted with the assistance of the Qantas Group and Australian aviation screening experts.

These collaborative projects demonstrate that there are no competitors in security — only partners.

This partnership will be further formalised with the joint signing of the new annex to the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Transport Sector.

It will bring into operation the transport sector elements of the 2006 Lombok Treaty – an agreement that provides the framework for security cooperation between our countries.

Madam Speaker, the projects undertaken under the MOU are improving the capabilities of our respective transport agencies to achieve improved transport safety and security outcomes in our region.

As a result, I can report that our transport relationship with Indonesia has never been stronger.

It is my absolute pleasure to welcome Minister Mangindaan here today.

It is appropriate that I record today my thanks for the warm hospitality he and his officials have shown to me during my recent visits to Indonesia, which I have visited on four occasions as a Minister.

The relationship formed and lessons learnt will help our countries grow even closer in coming years.