by Ernie Davitt, National Affairs Editor, ASM
National security and law enforcement were among the few winners in the Labor Government’s steady-as-you-go, self-styled ‘fiscally responsible’ 2010-11 Federal Budget. Ernie Davitt reports.
In what it termed Australia’s first coordinated national security budget, border protection and aviation security measures are to be strengthened and there will be more money to counter the threat of homegrown terrorism.
The national security sector will have an additional $500 million injected into it under the first national Budget which lumps key elements of the national security spend into one basket, in a sign of the growing maturity of the sector.
The Government’s news releases and other Budget documents used a figure of $4.3 billion for the national security budget but, oddly, over half the funding covered was defence-related.
The allocation for ‘national security’ included $1.1 billion for the Australian Defence Force to spend on measures such as body armour and improvements to armoured vehicles to protect troops serving overseas, and $1.5 billion for military stabilisation and capacity building on overseas deployments.
This approach could be confusing to the general community and is neither tidy nor helpful to insiders.
Much more detail about areas such as intelligence, cybersecurity and law enforcement, including the wider role of Customs, would have been of use.
Around $1.2 billion of the Budget’s new national security spend will be ploughed into border security, with $759 million over four years to be spent on policing Australia’s airports.
Attorney-General Robert McClelland, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Senator Chris Evans and Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor issued details of the ‘national security budget’ in a joint news release on 11 May.
Although more than half of the amount allocated was for military activities, the Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, was not associated with the announcement.
Some of the bigger-ticket items in the national security budget included strengthening Australia’s identity security by investing:
* $100.8 million in additional funding over six years for a new passport issuing system;
* $23.6 million in ongoing funding to prevent identity theft through the Government Document Verification Scheme; and
* $5.9 million in ongoing funding to detect identity fraud through Australia’s Fraudulent Travel Document Detection System.
Intelligence gathering and safeguarding information included allocations of:
* $101.6 million in ongoing funding for telecommunications interception work conducted by national security and law enforcement agencies;spying on the people of Australia whether your criminal or not
* $24 million in additional funding for new analytical technologies to improve the real-time ability of the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) to target serious and organised crime, tax evasion and financial fraud;
* $14.5 million in additional funding to establish aCriminal Intelligence Fusion Centre within the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), to better detect and prevent organised crime, including operations set up to facilitate people smuggling in the region; andMinistry of information
* $1.8 million in additional funding to enhance the Australian Secret Intelligence Service’s intelligence-gathering capability, in addition to $8.3 million already in the forward estimates.
The Government’s measures to counter terrorism and violent extremism included new funding of $9.1 million to establish a Counter Terrorism Control Centre within the Attorney General’s portfolio, and $9.7 million extra to counter violent extremism and the threat of homegrown terrorism in the Australian community.
National security infrastructure, including law enforcement, and capacity building, received:
* $23.5 million in additional funding to deliver on the Government’s commitment to provide 500 new Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers, in addition to $191.9 million provided in the 2008-09 Budget;
* up to $17.3 million for the establishment of the new National Security College at the Australian National University in Canberra;
* $35.5 million to upgrade the Cocos (Keeling) Islands runway;
* $21.3 million in additional funding for security upgrades at Parliament House; and
* $1.7 million in 2010-11 to continue the National Emergency Call Centre Surge Capacity.
The Government’s allocation of $1.2 billion to strengthen border security includes the previously announced eight new border patrol vessels and strengthened aviation security.
Other measures include:
* $759.4 million over four years for continued policing at Australian airports;
* $69.4 million over four years to introduce biometric checks of international passengers in overseas posts to strengthen Australia’s capacity to verify the identity of foreign nationals;
* $24.9 million for Stage 2, Enhanced Passenger Assessment and Clearance (EPAC) to ensure a larger number of passengers can be assessed faster and earlier and to ensure that travel histories can be collected for the purpose of identifying passengers who may pose security risks;
* $11.4 million over four years for the Next Generation Border Security Initiative to allow the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to undertake advanced data analysis and risk profiling to more effectively identify visa applicants who may represent national security risks for referral to ASIO;
* $9.2 million over four years to continue to support and maintain the Regional Movement Alert System (RMAS) which enables automatic verification of passports issued by each participating country;
* $17.8 million in additional funding over four years to increase the number of AFP firearms and explosive detector dogs at major international airports;
* $12.3 million in additional funding for one year in 2010-11 for the AFP presence at 11 major airports, in line with the Beale review’s recommendations on airport policing to deliver more responsive and better coordinated policing at these gateways.
Although the replacement cost is still subject to commercial negotiations, funding has been earmarked for a major investment in the purchase of eight new patrol vessels with improved surveillance and response capability and greater range, to replace the Customs and Border Protection Service’s current ageing Bay Class vessels.
The new Customs patrol vessels will be able to travel further than the existing craft and will have the capacity to conduct operations in all parts of Australia’s waters. The first vessel is expected to come on line in 2012-13 with the full new fleet being operational by 2015-16. The Government will also provide additional funding of around $42.6 million over four years to meet project implementation and enhanced operating costs.
Other border protection measures include:
* $163.2 million over four years to continue initiatives to combat illegal foreign fishing, including $13.2 million for the continued participation of Australian Fisheries Management Authority officers on patrols in the Southern Ocean (including the Heard and McDonald Islands Exclusive Economic Zone) to detect, apprehend and deter illegal foreign fishing;
* $32.9 million over four years for investment in work with Indonesia to better manage the issue of people smuggling within Indonesia and the region;
* $15.7 million over two years to ensure the continued presence of a dedicated vessel at Ashmore Reef; and
* $800,000 in additional funding over two years to the Commonwealth Ombudsman to ensure the fairness of detention and immigration processes on Christmas Island.
The Government has identified savings of $146.3 million over four years (including $13.8 million in capital funding) through a number of efficiencies within the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.
These efficiencies will be achieved through:
* more efficient processing of apprehended illegal foreign fishers and their vessels;
* an improved risk-based approach to compliance assurance and revenue risk;
* modified aircraft search processes;
* a reduction in the number of patrol days undertaken in the Southern Ocean based on a revised assessment of the risks in this region;
* a targeted reduction to internally funded capital investments; and
* reallocation of aerial surveillance resources.
The Government maintains that the efficiencies can be delivered without a material impact on border management effectiveness. That remains to be seen.
Funding of over $118 million is provided to promote security initiatives in the Asia Pacific region, including:
* $80.5 million in additional funding for the AFP’s Police Development Program in Timor-Leste, Tonga and Vanuatu;
* $16.8 million in additional funding to support the AFP commitment to the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste; and
* $21.2 million in ongoing funding for counter-terrorism liaison and capacity building in the region.
* The Government will invest an additional $38.5 million to combat organised crime in Australia, estimated to cost the community more than $15 billion a year.
* $24 million for new analytical technologies to improve the ability of AUSTRAC to target serious and organised crime, revenue evasion and financial fraud; and
* $14.5 million to establish a Criminal Intelligence Fusion Centre within the ACC to better detect and prevent organised crime, including operations set up to facilitate people smuggling in the region.
The 2010-11 Budget allocated almost $200 million to the rollout of the new and additional measures in the Aviation Security Package announced by the Prime Minister on 9 February 2010.
Entire Article: http://www.securitymanagement.com.au/articles/2010-2011-budget-national-security-one-of-few-budget-winners-168.html