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Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Page: 3464

Budget


Mr DRUM (Murray) (15:02): My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Will the minister update the House on steps the government has taken in the budget to protect Australian travellers?


Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Home Affairs and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection) (15:02): I thank the honourable member for his question, for the work that he does in his electorate to keep his constituents safe and for the support he provides, like all of us in this parliament provide, to the Australian Federal Police, to ASIO and to the other agencies who work day and night to keep Australians safe. We know that it's an uncertain world. We've seen attacks at airports in Europe and elsewhere around the world, and we know that air travellers do face a risk whether it's in this country or elsewhere around the world. In fact, in July last year there was an A380 Etihad flight leaving Sydney bound for the Middle East that persons attempted to smuggle an explosive device onto. Now, had that been successful, it would have been catastrophic. It would have been the biggest aviation disaster since 9/11. It would have had all sorts of consequences for the economy and for the tourism industry—not to speak, obviously, of the human cost.

We had a look at security settings at our domestic airports as a result. We've been working very closely with the owners of the airports, with the airlines and with other stakeholders, and I'm pleased to say that last night the Treasurer announced in the budget that we have committed $294 million to enhance our security at domestic airports—at regional airports as well as the major airports. We will work with those regional providers and provide capital support to help put in place new X-ray technology. We will have additional efforts in relation to the Australian Federal Police counterterrorist first-response presence at airports. We will work with all of the intelligence agencies to make sure that we can do whatever is within our power to keep Australians safe.

We have a continent where people travel freely each day and expect to travel in safety. But we also know that the authorities in this country have now thwarted 14 attempts at mass casualty events and we know that there are people within our own country who would seek to do harm to Australians tomorrow, whether it's at an airport, a place of mass gathering, a school, a food court in a shopping centre—wherever it might be. This threat is not diminishing. The government remains absolutely committed. We demonstrated this again last night, through the measures that we've taken to provide budget savings so that we can manage the budget effectively to pay for essential services, to guarantee these essential services, so that we can provide every effort to the police, to law enforcement and to intelligence agencies to keep Australians safe.