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where is the extra funding and personnel to implement new customs reforms



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Michael Keenan MP - Federal Member for Stirling WHERE IS THE EXTRA FUNDING AND PERSONNEL TO IMPLEMENT NEW CUSTOMS REFORMS July 03, 2013

The release of the Blueprint for Reform of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service today highlights the need for widespread reform throughout the agency in order to reduce its vulnerability to infiltration from organised crime, Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection Michael Keenan said.

“But the Minister for Home Affairs, Jason Clare, has failed to say how Customs is meant to implement these new reforms without additional funding and personnel,” Mr Keenan said.

“Since coming to office, Labor has systematically cut funding and personnel from Customs Budget - with a total of $125.5 million in funding slashed and 870 staff cut from an agency of just over 5000 people.

“In the most recent Labor Budget alone, they cut $61.4 million in funding and another 120 staff from Customs despite being fully aware of the systemic corruption that was exposed within the agency.

“To give the agency the best chance at weeding out internal corruption and preventing penetration from organised crime, the Government should start by appropriately resourcing Customs.

“The Minister for Home Affairs announced that they would embed undercover Australian Federal Police officers within Customs - but what he failed to mention was whether any additional funding or staff had been given to the Australian Federal Police to cover these new positions or if once again the overstretched agency would have to find these officers from the limited numbers they already have.

“The Labor Party has cut the Australian Federal Police budget by almost $310 million since coming to office and has also cut 97 staff.

“On top of this the AFP are still waiting for the additional 500 police officers that Kevin Rudd promised to deliver at the 2007 election.

“An example of just one of the impacts of Labor’s funding cuts is the $58.1 million that they cut from Customs budget for cargo screening in the 2009-10 Budget.

“As a result of this cut less than 5 per cent of air cargo consignments and sea cargo consignments are inspected when they cross Australia’s borders - giving organised criminals pretty significant odds of not getting caught when they smuggle drugs, weapons or other contraband across our borders and into our community.

“If the Government is serious about stamping out corruption and preventing organised criminal gangs from infiltrating Customs, then they should start by adequately resourcing our frontline law and order agencies,” Mr Keenan said.

© Authorised by Michael Keenan MP, 203 Wanneroo Road, Tuart Hill WA 6060

www.keenan.net.au

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