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Wednesday, 14 February 2007
Page: 5

Mrs DE-ANNE KELLY (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services) (9:27 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

Aviation security is a high priority for this government and is under constant review to ensure that the regulatory framework is responsive to changing threats to the Australian aviation industry.

On 9 August 2006, United Kingdom security services interrupted a terrorist operation involving planned attacks against international aviation targets. The foiled plot revealed vulnerability in the technical capability of aviation security screening points with respect to liquid explosive detection. This vulnerability has prompted the United States, Canada and the European Union to introduce restrictions on the amount of liquids, aerosols and gels that can be carried on board international outbound and domestic flights.

The Australian government has also moved to deal with these risks. On 8 December 2006, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services announced that from 31 March 2007 there would be enhanced security measures to limit the amount of liquids, aerosols and gels that can be taken through an international screening point by people who are flying to or from Australia.

This bill makes the amendments to the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 that are necessary to better manage this vulnerability. The bill amends the power to make regulations to cover liquids, aerosols and gels. As a necessary enhancement the act is also amended to allow for appropriate frisk searches at screening points.

Overall this bill facilitates screening for liquids, aerosols and gels to protect Australians and the Australian aviation industry.

Debate (on motion by Dr Emerson) adjourned.