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Labor's attack on Customs makes it vulnerable to organised crime

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Michael Keenan MP - Federal Member for Stirling Labor’s attack on Customs makes it vulnerable to organised crime June 22, 2013

Labor has systematically dismantled the capabilities of Customs and Border protection in a way that has increased their vulnerability to infiltration from organised crime, Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection Michael Keenan said.

“The majority of service men and women of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service do a great job in difficult circumstances and it is a dark day for them when the corruption of some, within their agency, is revealed,” Mr Keenan said.

“This is an agency that has had their funding and personnel cut in every budget since Labor came to office in 2007 - with $125.5 million and 870 staff cut under this Government.

“There are now over 15 per cent less Customs personnel than in 2007 and the agency is spread extremely thin.

“This comes at a time when an enormous amount of Customs focus is on Labor’s border protection crisis to the detriment of other border protection functions.

“These drastic cuts to Customs resources have hindered the agency’s ability to effectively do its job.

“On top of this the Gillard Government also cut funding to the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity in the last budget - the very agency tasked with the enormous job of investigating the systemic corruption allegations within Customs.

“The Minister for Home Affairs, Jason Clare, chose not to release this report whilst the Parliament sat this week but instead waited until the weekend in a bid to avoid scrutiny of its findings.

“You cannot systematically dismantle our border protection agency, load them up with significant extra responsibilities and then expect that this won’t expose vulnerabilities that organised crime can exploit,” Mr Keenan said.

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

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