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Monday, 3 November 2003
Page: 21852

Ms Grierson asked the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, upon notice, on 12 August 2003:

(1) Does the Department of Transport and Regional Services require Port Security Plans to be in place by mid 2004.

(2) Did the 2003-2004 budget allocate any money for the development of Port Security Plans; if so, how much; if not, why not.

(3) What impact, if any, will the 2003-2004 budget have on port security in Newcastle.

(4) What is the cost of developing a Port Security Plan for Newcastle.

(5) What are the implications of a Port Security Plan for the Newcastle Port Corporation and port users of Newcastle Harbour.

(6) What are the implications of the closure of the Australian Federal Police office in Newcastle for port security in this region.

(7) What measures is the Government taking to ensure security in ports throughout Australia.

Mr Anderson (Minister for Transport and Regional Services) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) No, the cost of development of a port security plan is a cost of doing business and is properly the responsibility of the port.

(3) The 2003/2004 Budget will enable my Department to develop and implement a nationally consistent maritime preventive security regulatory framework. This framework will assist Australian ports, including the Port of Newcastle, to deter unlawful interference against maritime transport.

(4) The Newcastle Port Corporation have advised my Department that the cost of development of their plan is `commercial-in-confidence'.

(5) The Newcastle Port Corporation Port Security Plan will for the areas of the port under its day to day management control describe security arrangements to safeguard and protect it from unlawful interference to maritime transport. Upon approval of the plan by the Department, port users accessing these areas will need to adhere to security measures outlined in the plan, such as access control, information exchange and coordination arrangements.

(6) The AFP does not have a direct role in port security in Newcastle. Physical security of the port is the responsibility of the Newcastle Port Corporation. Where any relevant federal criminal offences are detected at ports, the AFP responds, where appropriate. The AFP maintains a presence in Newcastle through a Federal Agent who is co-located with Centrelink in Newcastle. The AFP's responsibilities for the Newcastle area are also serviced by the Sydney Office.

(7) The Government is establishing a nationally consistent regulatory framework to deter unlawful interference with maritime transport that is consistent with international security requirements in the recently adopted amendments to the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea Convention and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.