Maritime and aviation reforms to make Home Affairs sole issuer of ID cards

By Melissa Coade

January 27, 2022

Home affairs minister Karen Andrews said the powers would enable the agencies to fight serious crime online.
Home affairs minister Karen Andrews. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The federal government is to review reforms needed to secure Australia’s airports, wharves, runways and dockyards, with a proposal to give the Department of Home Affairs exclusive authority to issue aviation and maritime security identification cards (ASICs and MSICs).

Under the current issuing scheme, a range of businesses and industry groups can issue the ID cards, which grant unescorted access to secure parts of airport and seaport vicinities.  

On Tuesday, home affairs minister Karen Andrews announced the consultation was open for submissions. She said the reforms would be co-designed with industry stakeholders.

“We know that Australia’s aviation and maritime transport infrastructure is targeted by a range of organised criminals, terrorists, and malicious foreign actors,” Andrews said.

“ASICs and MSICs give the bearer unescorted access to some of our most sensitive trade and cargo links. 

“Working with industry to co-design improvements to this process by moving to a single, government-issuing authority will assure the integrity of these cards and further harden the aviation and maritime sectors to exploitation and unlawful interference.”

The government plans to engage with all issuing bodies as part of its consultation, with a view to co-designing a ‘robust’ reform for the maritime and aviation sectors. 

Andrews added that the reforms built on the Transport Security Amendment (Serious Crime) Bill 2021 introduced last June, which aimed to stop people with links to serious and organised crime from accessing secure airport and seaport areas.

“I encourage industry to have their say during the consultation process. 

“Your continued support will ensure any vulnerabilities in the current schemes are addressed – better protecting all Australians,” the minister said.


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