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Wednesday, 3 September 2014
Page: 6390

Senator SINGH (Tasmania) (16:53): On behalf of the Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, I present Examination of the annual report of the Australian Crime Commission 2012-13 and Examination of the annual report of the Australian Federal Police 2012-13, together with the minutes of proceedings of the committee and the transcript of evidence.

Ordered that the reports be printed.

Senator SINGH: by leave—I move:

That the Senate take note of the reports.

In doing so, I will speak to the Australian Crime Commission's annual report on behalf of the committee. I would like to thank the Australian Crime Commission and its former CEO Mr John Lawler AM APM for their hard work and dedication in the preparation of this annual report.

The report details the ACC's successes in the disruption of international money-laundering operations, having seized drugs with an estimated street value of $500 million and $18 million in cash. Further, Task Force Galilee—tasked with preventing investment fraud—stopped fraud in the order of $113 million against Australian citizens. There are a number of other successes listed in the report, which I encourage senators to read. On behalf of the committee, I acknowledge the work of Mr John Lawler, who retired on 16 October 2013. The committee thanks Mr Lawler for his contribution and insights informed by his extensive experience in law-enforcement agencies provided throughout his tenure.

On behalf of the committee, I wish to thank the Australian Federal Police and its Commissioner Mr Tony Negus APM for their hard work and dedication in the preparation of their 2012-13 annual report. The committee's report that I have tabled details the AFP's significant success in meeting the obligations set out in section 8 of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979. Again, there are a number of noteworthy achievements in that annual report, which I encourage senators to read.

As a proud senator for Tasmania, in tabling this report it would be remiss of me not to note my disappointment that the AFP's evidence at Senate estimates earlier this year confirmed their future aviation key performance indicators at Hobart International Airport will be compromised by this government's budget cuts. This is because the Abbot government has cut $22 million across four years from the AFP's aviation operations at Hobart Airport, at a cost of almost 30 jobs.

The Australian Federal Police are the primary law-enforcement agency in major Australian airports, and the AFP provides a range of counter-terrorism and community-policing services at Hobart Airport. I note the AFP Commissioner confirmed that the AFP would have preferred to stay at Hobart Airport but was unable to do so, in the context of budget cuts ordered by the Abbott government.

Senator Brandis: You're the one who reduced their funding for over six years!

The PRESIDENT: Order on my right!

Senator SINGH: As a result, Hobart will become the first Australian capital city airport not protected by the AFP. There is no doubt that the cuts to AFP aviation operations will undermine airport security at Hobart Airport, because the AFP presence at Hobart airport is an invaluable deterrent to crime. The security gap has to be covered by Tasmania police and security contractors.

Finally, the committee wishes to thank very much and congratulate Commissioner Negus for his dedicated service to the AFP. Commissioner Negus will end his term on 7 September, which will conclude his distinguished 32 years of service in the AFP. Commissioner Negus is in a very different place from when he started directing Canberra's traffic at the beginning of the 1980s, but his professionalism and commitment to the principle of the police as a service to the community has always been a recognisable aspect to his varied career within the AFP.

I also speak on behalf of my colleague Jason Clare, who greatly valued Commissioner Negus's advice and support when he was Minister for Justice in the Gillard government. We wish Commissioner Negus all the very best, in wherever he chooses to take his outstanding talents next, and we have no doubt he will successfully add to his long list of achievements.