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Tuesday, 30 November 2004
Page: 106

Senator Ludwig asked the Minister for Justice and Customs, upon notice, on 29 July 2004:

(1) Did SAGEM Australasia Pty Ltd recently win a contract to work with the Australian Customs Service on its SmartGate border control system.

(2) How many other companies submitted tenders for this contract.

(3) Who decided on the winning tender.

(4) When is SmartGate expected to be in operation.

(5) What is the cost of the tender.

(6) What training is needed to operate SmartGate.

(7) What information technology backup will be available during the implementation and subsequent operation of SmartGate.

Senator Ellison (Minister for Justice and Customs) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Yes. Customs conducted an open Request for Proposal procurement process for a Strategic Partner for the development of automated border control in late 2003, which resulted in a Head Agreement being signed with SAGEM Australasia Pty Ltd in May 2004.

(2) 11 companies submitted proposals.

(3) Tim Chapman, National Manager Passengers Branch, Australian Customs Service approved the evaluation committee's recommendation of the preferred proponent.

(4) SmartGate is a trial, not a production system. The trial commenced at Sydney International Airport in November 2002 and will be extended to another airport and additional users in late 2004.

(5) The agreement with SAGEM Australasia that resulted from the Request for Proposal procurement process provides the framework for specific contracts to be formed but it does not guarantee any work. Under the Head Agreement there is a notional amount of $500 000 for works in 2004/05.

(6) SmartGate was designed to be very intuitive and new users are provided with a Help Card at the time of their enrolment. All Customs officers working at the related airports attend SmartGate briefing sessions and those directly related to the operation of the kiosk undertake specialised training.

(7) In the event of any failure of the system, the backup is to revert to existing manual processing systems utilising the passenger processing IT system.