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Major security breach at Sydney Airport -

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Major security breach at Sydney Airport

AM - Saturday, 16 July , 2005 08:14:28

Reporter: Alison Caldwell

EDMOND ROY: A major security breach at Sydney's International Airport has highlighted serious
weaknesses at the country's largest airport, according to the Transport Workers' Union.

A man wearing a black backpack managed to penetrate the airport's perimeter fence without
detection.

He was found by a baggage handler after he'd passed several aeroplanes on the tarmac.

While his backpack contained no suspicious items, unions claim that the incident highlights just
how easy it is to get close to a plane without detection at Sydney Airport.

Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: It was just around 8:30 on Thursday night when the security breach occurred at
Sydney's International Airport.

A man dressed in black, wearing a backpack and a beanie, managed to cut his way through the
airport's perimeter fence.

He walked approximately 300 metres onto the tarmac, and past several aeroplanes, before reaching
Gate 20, which is virtually in the middle of the airport, when a Qantas baggage handler spotted
him.

Nimrod Noyles is a spokesman with the Transport Workers' Union.

NIMROD NOYLES: We understand that an individual was able to cut the perimeter fence at the
International Airport, was able to progress onto the international tarmac, up to about 300 metres
before one of our baggage handlers that works on the international ramp spotted the individual,
confronted him, and challenged his security clearance, realised that this was not an employee, and
contacted security immediately. And then the Federal Police were involved and came and took the
person away.

ALISON CALDWELL: The man had to be crash-tackled to the ground. Police were called to the scene, as
was an ambulance.

Australian Federal Police arrested the man and charged him with trespass on Commonwealth property,
resisting arrest, and damage to Commonwealth property.

He appeared in a Sydney court yesterday morning, where a judge referred him for medical assessment.

Since 2001, the Transport Workers' Union has expressed concerns about a lack of security at
Australia's airports.

Nimrod Noyles says this latest security breach shows just how vulnerable our largest airport really
is.

NIMROD NOYLES: The Federal Government's own Auditor General's report, back in 2003, specifically
referred to the contracting out of, particularly in security services, but generally in the
aviation industry, that it seriously diminishes the security chain of command. And you have to look
at an example of what happened on Thursday evening - there's no security, the security didn't find
this person, it was one of our members, a baggage handler. We'd be all a little bit less alarmed if
the Federal Government was a bit more alert.

ALISON CALDWELL: What does the Transport Workers' Union want? I mean, do you want police, security
guards, walking around the perimeter fence of the airport to prevent something like this happening
in the future?

NIMROD NOYLES: It seems pretty self-evident that if someone was able to cut a hole in a perimeter
fence that there is some serious issues of lax security or insufficient security. And the fact that
one person's done it, we would hope that that situation can never occur again.

EDMOND ROY: The TWU's Nimrod Noyles, speaking to Alison Caldwell.

And the Sydney Airport's Corporation confirmed a security breach did take place on Thursday night,
as did the Australian Federal Police.