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Budget 2006: Protecting identity security.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON PHILIP RUDDOCK MP

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CUSTOMS SENATOR THE HON CHRIS ELLISON

NEWS RELEASE

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600  www.ag.gov.au

9 May 2006

PROTECTING IDENTITY SECURITY

The Australian Government announced tonight that the identity security of Australians will be further protected with the rollout of the national Document Verification Service (DVS) and the establishment of Identity Security Strike Teams.

Identity theft and fraud costs the community an estimated $1 billion every year and there are indications that it is being targeted by organised crime and potential terrorists.

A national DVS will be rolled out with funding of $28.3 million, building on the prototype service developed and trialled over the past 12 months.

This service will allow authorised government agencies to check key identity documents presented by individuals applying for high value benefits and services.

The DVS will allow online and real time verification to ensure the details on these documents are accurate and the cross checking function will detect stolen or fraudulent documents.

The national DVS will allow authorised government agencies to check Australian passports, the Health Services access card, Australian citizenship certificates, and birth certificates and drivers’ licences issued in Australia.

In addition, three new Australian Federal Police-led Identity Security Strike Teams will be formed at a cost of $19.6 million over four years from the implementation of the Australasian Identity Crime Policing Strategy.

AFP investigations have revealed the sale of complete identity packages of drivers’ licences, Medicare cards, passports and birth certificates. These offer criminals, including terrorists, multiple means to shield their activities and evade detection and arrest.

The teams will be located in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, and will comprise staff from the AFP, Australian Crime Commission, Customs and Immigration. They will be based upon the successful Identity Crime Task Force comprising State and Commonwealth agencies operating in Sydney.

Media Contact:

Charlie McKillop Attorney’s Office (02) 6277 7300 0419 278 715 Duncan Bremner Minister’s Office (02) 6277 7260 0409 003 084

PROTECTING IDENTITY SECURITY 2

Supporting Information

Why is this important?

ï¿» Identity security is central to Australia’s national security, law enforcement and economic interests including revenue protection, and is vital in protecting Australian citizens from the theft or misuse of their identities. Identity fraud or theft supports criminal and terrorist activity, assists the perpetration and undermines the investigation of criminal offences.

ï¿» A national document verification service (DVS) forms a central component of the national identity security strategy announced on 14 April 2005.

Who will benefit?

ï¿» All Australians will be better protected from criminals using their identities for illegal purposes.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

ï¿» The Government is allocating $28.3m towards a national DVS, which will be managed by the Attorney-General's Department. Some of this funding will be directed to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) so a national DVS can check key documents issued by them. Additional funding is also being provided to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the Australian Crime Commission.

Document verification service 2006-07 ($m) 2007-08 ($m)

2008-09 ($m) 2009-10 ($m)

Total 9.5 6.1 6.3 6.3

ï¿» The identity security strike teams are a joint agency initiative. Australian Federal Police (AFP) is the lead agency; other government agencies include the Australian Crime Commission, Customs and DIMA. The financial implication for this initiative over four years is $19.6m, as below.

Identity Security 2006-07

($m)

2007-08 ($m) 2008-09 ($m)

2009-10 ($m)

Total 5.8 4.6 4.6 4.6

What have we done in the past?

ï¿» The 2005-06 Budget provided funding for a pilot using a prototype DVS.

ï¿» The identity security strike teams are a new initiative that will build on the successful ID crime taskforce model already established in Sydney.

When will the initiative conclude?

ï¿» The DVS is intended to be ongoing as it is an integral part of the Government’s National Identity Security Strategy.

ï¿» The identity security strike teams are also ongoing.