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Australia to Improve Security at Air and Sea Ports

Improving Security at Air and Sea Ports

The Australian Government will establish a new division within the Attorney General’s Department to coordinate background checks on people working in the secure areas of air and sea ports, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock announced today.

The initiative follows a recommendation of the Wheeler Review of Airport Security and Policing to centralise background checks within a single government department.

“This will enable the Government to provide an extra level of support to those industry groups responsible for the issue of identification cards and ensure national consistency with vetting arrangements,” Mr Ruddock said.

“People who work in these secure areas are already required to have Aviation Security Identification Cards (ASICs) and Maritime Security Identification Cards (MSICs),” Mr Ruddock said.

“The new division will strengthen national security arrangements by helping the aviation and maritime industries to identify people who should not be issued with these cards.

“This is consistent with Sir John Wheeler’s recommendation to centralise background checking in my department and is part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to improving aviation and maritime security,” he said.

Mr Ruddock said his department would consult widely within Government and with industry during the implementation phase. The new division will begin operation on 1 July 2007.

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