Changes to the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 and the Maritime and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 will toughen access to airports and seaports for persons with serious or organised crime convictions.
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the measures will enhance the aviation and maritime security identification card (ASIC and MSIC) schemes, which are an important part of securing Australia’s aviation and maritime infrastructure.
“This Government has no higher priority than keeping Australians safe and secure. These changes will strengthen our ability to protect Australia’s airports and seaports from individuals with links to serious or organised crime. In turn this will help keep drugs off our streets and illegal guns out of our communities,” said Mr Chester.
“These changes will also deliver on our commitment to implement the National Ice Taskforce’s recommendations, specifically to strengthen the ASIC and MSIC schemes to disrupt the distribution of ice.”
“Successful passage of these changes will ensure the earliest possible commencement of these important measures.”
Supporting the amendments, the Minister for Justice and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism Michael Keenan said the changes will improve the Government’s ability to combat transnational and domestic organised crime.
“Organised crime is a serious threat to our security and prosperity as a nation. The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission conservatively estimates that organised crimes costs Australia $36 billion annually,” Mr Keenan said.
“Crooks are more sophisticated than ever before, and we need to be smarter and more targeted in our efforts to detect, disrupt and undermine the misery they peddle.”
“It is known that organised criminal groups exploit weaknesses in the ASIC and MSIC schemes to their benefit. These changes will address this issue and are a critical step in securing our airport and seaports from criminal influence.”
On successful passage, it is intended that the reforms will become effective from 1 February 2017.