Budget 2018: $121.6m for international mail screening
In their Tuesday night budget hand down, the Government announced it will spend $121.6 million on upgrading screening measures for inbound air cargo and international mail.
The spend was prompted by an Islamic State attempt to bring down an Etihad passenger jet en route to Dubai from Sydney last year. This saw a Syrian-based jihadist send military-grade explosives via air cargo to covert extremists in Sydney, who were tasked with placing the devices on-board.
Sam Aziz, a former director of International Mail and Australian Customs and Border Protection, is pleased by the budget announcement.
“Increased budget spending to improve the screening of international mail is welcome news,” he says.
“International mail is cheap and attractive for the Australian consumer. The volume of mail has increased at an exponential rate. This has presented a significant problem. How do you screen and ensure any contraband is reprehended before it makes its way into Australia?”
Seventy percent of contraband imported into Australia comes from the international mailing stream. It is hoped the funds will help clampdown on the transportation of illicit substances.
“The biggest problem we have is international mail is not reported the same way. The best that a risk can be apprehended in the mail environment is to introduce reporting, just as you do sea cargo and air cargo.”
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