Mar 11, 2010

Strengthening Australia’s transport security

Strengthening Australia’s transport security

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

March 11 2010

The Rudd Labor Government has today introduced legislation into the Parliament that will allow transport security authorities to respond more quickly and in a better coordinated way to threats to aviation and maritime security.

Safety and security of Australia’s transport networks is our number one priority.

The Transport Security Legislation Amendment (2010 Measures No. 1) Bill 2010 contains amendments which further strengthen Australia’s transport security systems and improve coordination between security authorities.

These measures will:

  • Allow the Aviation Prohibited Items list to be amended more quickly through a notice issued by the Minister, subject to Parliamentary scrutiny;
  • Enable different classes of ships to be defined in regulations, to better tailor security requirements according to the type of ship, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach;
  • Give screening officials the power to conduct ‘pat down’ searches of cruise ship passengers and crew (with their permission) in exceptional cases, such as where metal detection equipment is unable to clear a passenger embarking a ship;
  • Allow the Secretary of my Department to delegate his aviation and maritime powers and functions to the Commonwealth Incident Coordinator to manage aviation and maritime security-related incidents;
  • Allow the Secretary of my Department to appoint ‘Security Assessment Inspectors’ with specific entry and information gathering powers to evaluate security policies at Australian sea ports in response to changing and emerging threats;
  • Modernise the recording media options for maritime security inspectors to enable them to collect both still and moving images during audit and compliance activities; and
  • Provide exemptions from certain security requirements for low risk Australian and foreign ships to allow for greater flexibility in facilitating ship maintenance voyages.

This Bill amends the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 and the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003, and follows a recent examination of security arrangements for passenger ships undertaken by my Department.

The terrorist attempt on a United Stated-bound flight on Christmas Day last year showed that we need to remain vigilant and stand ready to take the steps necessary to safeguard Australian travellers as well as our transport networks.