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Wednesday, 30 May 2018
Page: 5064


Mr TAYLOR (HumeMinister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security) (17:04): Of course, there is one thing I can agree with the member for Hotham about, and that's that the AFP do wonderful work—but that's pretty much the end of it, because this financial year, if she'd look carefully at her numbers, she would see that there is a record level of funding to the Australian Federal Police, $1.485 billion, far above any level at any time when Labor was in government. There has never been a government more supportive of the Australian Federal Police and our security agencies more generally than this government.

As examples of that, you will see that this year there is an increase of 150 employees across the Federal Police, and there are very significant funding commitments—for example, $284 million in total for aviation security. That includes 190 Federal Police officers. One hundred and fifty of those are frontline officers; another 40 are providing intelligence and training support. Every Australian knows that, when they travel, they want the government ensuring that the aeroplanes and the airports they go to are safe and secure. That's why we're making this $284 million commitment. There is $70 million to the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation. What an extraordinary commitment to an initiative that we know will save 200 kids a year from a terrible, terrible fate. These are examples of the very important commitments we're making. There's been $1.5 billion in addition committed by this government since it got into government, since 2013.

Labor like to talk a big game on national security. They like to say that it's bipartisan. But the real test of national security—or anything, for that matter—is what you do when you are in government. And it's worthwhile going back and seeing what the Labor Party did when they were in government. Between 2010 and 2013, they cut $128 million per year, annualised funding, out of the Australian Federal Police. It gets worse: $30 million and 88 staff from the ACC between 2007 and 2013 and $27 million and 56 staff from AUSTRAC. And the worst is yet to come, because they cut $735 million and 700 staff from Customs. They left that organisation on its knees. The result of that was a 25 per cent reduction in sea cargo screening and a 75 per cent reduction in air cargo screening. You may as well roll out the red carpet to criminals when you are making those kinds of cuts.

The real test, as I say, is what you do when you're in government. We are absolutely committed to the national security of this country. The formation of Home Affairs, the biggest change in national security arrangements in the last 40 years in Australia, alongside the excellent work that I know the Attorney-General is doing in some of this area, is a very significant commitment.

With that comes the establishment of important new roles. Karl Kent has recently been appointed as the Transnational Serious and Organised Crime Coordinator. This allows us to take every part of the federal government's national security and intelligence capability and focus it on the criminals that we know are putting drugs on the streets in our towns—in my town of Goulburn and in many regional centres. We've seen a dramatic increase in the supply of methamphetamines and other drugs. We know that, as against even six or seven years ago, those drugs were being produced locally; now they're coming from offshore. That's why we need a Transnational Serious and Organised Crime Coordinator. We will always put Australia and Australians' national security as our first priority.