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Coast guard: another tired ALP non-policy.

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Media Release

Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Minister for Justice and Customs

Senator for South Australia


23 January 200





The ALP policy to establish a Coast Guard is simply a recycling of an idea th at was previously rejected by a Labor Party and still not a viable option for Australia, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone said today.


“This is the same tired old policy that Kim Beazley himself rejected back when Labor was in government in 1984. The estimated cost at that time was around $1 billion and it may be around $2 billion today.


“It is an attempt to transfuse the US Coast Guard model to Australia and does not recognise the differing threats in Australia, the differing Constitutional framework and the way in which Commonwealth and State responsibilities are blended,” Senator Vanstone said.


“The US Coast Guard has 38 000 active duty staff, 8000 reservists and over 35 000 auxiliaries and an annual budget of some $US4 billion dollars. It also has 25 large cutters, additional patrol boats and more than 1400 other boats and 200 aircraft.


“Despite all this hardware and personnel there is still a need for other law enforcement agencies to have separate very expensive operations. For instance, the US Customs Service operates more than 200 aircraft in its of its own.


“The Australian model is a much better solution for Australia.


“The Government has already implemented a system which is delivering world class maritime surveillance and response capabilities and at a cost that makes effective use of every dollar spent.


“We have already established a National Surveillance Centre within Coastwatch that brings together the intelligence capability and resources of Customs and other civil organisations with Defence.


“In addition Coastwatch is already run by a serving rear-admiral of the Australian Navy with very close contacts with the Defence forces.


“Labor has not identified the real problem and has instead identified a wrong soluti on. Australia already has detection and interception facilities that are world class.


Senator Vanstone said that this was just another example of Labor not having any credible policies. “Today they have merely offered up some recycled ideas that they themselves previously rejected in government.”



Media Contact:

Damon Hunt; 0419 891 944



md 2000-01-25  11:42