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Illegal firearms battle must be fought on the Customs frontline

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Illegal firearms battle must be fought on the Customs frontline

Posted on Monday, 13 February, 2012

Whilst the Coalition supports measures that aim to combat the illegal gun trade in Australia, it is essential that the Gillard Labor Government targets gun control through our frontline border protection agencies by restoring the funding that they have taken an axe to since they came to power, Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection Michael Keenan said today.

“I call on the new Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare to actually make a real commitment to fighting serious and organised crime on the frontline by reinstating the drastic cuts that this Labor Government made to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, including restoring the $58.1 million that they axed from Customs cargo screening,” Mr Keenan said.

“As a result of these severe cuts to cargo screening, sea cargo inspections have been reduced by over 25 per cent and air cargo by a brutal 75 per cent, with resonant projections made by the Customs CEO Michael Carmody that these figures will increase even further in the coming months and years,” he said.

“It is a fundamental responsibility of the Commonwealth Government to protect and control our borders and prevent the trafficking of illegal drugs and weapons into our country, which sustain the criminal gangs and their organised crime syndicate,” Mr Keenan said.

“If Minister Clare is serious about fighting organised crime then he should start by restoring all the funding cuts that the Gillard Labor Government have made to our frontline border protection agency Customs and Border Protection,” Mr Keenan said.