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Customs patrol vessel to visit Geraldton.

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Media Release


Minister for Justice and Customs Senator for Western Australia

21 March 2001

Customs patrol vessel to visit Geraldton The Australian Customs Vessel Roebuck Bay will be in Geraldton for an open day this Saturday, March 31, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison announced today.

The Roebuck Bay, which is carrying out a regular patrol in the area, will be open to the public from 10am to 2pm. The vessel will be moored at Berth No 1 at Geraldton Port.

"Maintaining a strong coastal surveillance network is a priority for Western Australians. I’m proud to say that one of the keys to this defence is the fleet of eight new bay class customs boats designed and built by local shipwright, Austal Ships Pty Ltd, here in Western Australia," Senator Ellison said.

"These visits give the local community rare insight into the capability of Customs patrol vessels used to protect Australian shores from illegal immigrants and drug importation," he said.

"Customs vessels conduct strategic and tactical operations in WA coastal and offshore waters, for a range of clients including Environment Australia, the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, and the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service.

"Customs vessels operate in or near WA waters on a regular basis and these operations can be increased if required," he said.

The Roebuck Bay is part of the Howard Government’s $58m investment to further boost Australia’s marine response capabilities. ( see attached)

The open day is also a chance for people to become familiar with Customs Watch ─ a program which encourages the community to report unusual or suspicious land, sea or air activities.

"We find that people in local areas are most familiar with their own environment and therefore the best judge of anything out of the ordinary," Senator Ellison said.

"Community information can be the key to preventing smuggling of drugs wildlife or flora and I would encourage people to report anything unusual in the area by phoning our 24-hour freecall number 1800 06 1800."

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