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Thursday, 15 May 2014
Page: 3918

National Security

Mr VAN MANEN (Forde) (15:04): Madam Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. How will the creation of the Australian Border Force protect our borders and support a growing and more prosperous economy?

Mr MORRISON (CookMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (15:04): I thank the member for Forde, who was re-elected to this place not only because he is an outstanding local member but also because he is part of a team that is now delivering a more safe and secure Australia and a strong and prosperous economy. He will be pleased to know, as will his constituents, that it has been 147 days since the last successful people-smuggling venture. Over 147 days under the previous government, there were 136 successful ventures—almost one a day over that period. The government have demonstrated our backbone on our borders and this week we demonstrated our backbone in the budget. We ensured a safe and secure Australia and a stronger, prosperous economy for all Australians.

Border protection does not start and stop with stopping the boats, as we know. There are many threats and challenges and opportunities that are on our borders. We have rising demand: we have an 85 per cent forecast increase in air cargo shipments to Australia over the next few years; we have a 25 per cent increase in international traveller movements to Australia over that period. There is a global supply chain that is becoming more complex, which we must be part of. We are open to the threat of the increasingly interconnected way that global organised criminal gangs are operating and seeking to get through our borders. We also have the fantastic work by the minister for trade, who is opening up trade opportunities for Australia, and we need to be able to realise that by being facilitative and efficient and competitive at our border.

Operation Sovereign Borders has shown the way in how to harness the collective energies of our border agencies to get the job done. We will be establishing the Australian Border Force, which will bring together the collective energies of our Customs and immigration officials to ensure that we can address all the many threats and deliver on all the opportunities that are there for us to gain at our borders. We will be investing over $700 million over the next six years into the establishment of the Australian Border Force, and into the Customs and Border Protection Service over the next 12 months as well. That reverses the $700-plus million cuts to our border agencies that occurred over the previous six years under the previous government.

Stronger borders will ensure that we will realise the economic opportunities that a growing trade and traveller opportunity for Australia will present to us. But it will also ensure that we are able to counter the very real and serious threats that exist at our borders. We have demonstrated how we deliver on our borders and we are demonstrating that— (Time expired)