Globalisation is changing the way immigration, trade, citizenship, maritime security, revenue, travel and humanitarian policies need to be managed across the border continuum.
On 9 May 2014 the then Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, announced significant changes to the way that Australia's border will be protected and managed to enhance national security and the economy.
Australia is a free, prosperous and harmonious society, however, it is also these aspects of our society that terrorists and violent extremists seek to harm. The threat to Australia from these groups is real and growing.
Geopolitical events ranging from civil instability and armed conflict to global health crises can similarly create both direct and indirect security challenges for Australia.
A renewed focus on national security and immigration that continues to enable the seamless legitimate movement of people and goods is essential to ensuring that Australia remains a prosperous society. To meet these challenges, from 1 July 2015 DIBP and ACBPS integrated to become the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
For the first time traditional immigration and customs policies—including refugee and humanitarian programmes, immigration and citizenship, trade and customs, offshore maritime security and revenue collection—were brought together into a single policy space.
The ABF was formally established on 1 July 2015 as the front line operational enforcement entity within the integrated Department, focusing on investigations, compliance and detention operations offshore and onshore, across air and seaports, land and maritime domains.
The Secretary, Michael Pezzullo, is responsible for all departmental functions and the Commissioner ABF, Roman Quaedvlieg, is responsible for the ABF and its operational activities.
A staged approach was used to integrate the functions of DIBP and ACBPS and a Reform and Integration Task Force was established to oversee and guide the implementation.
On 2 March 2015 a new internal organisational structure for the Department was launched in ACBPS and DIBP, and staff began working within this integrated structure from this time.
New systems and processes were implemented in the lead-up to 1 July 2015 to streamline and strengthen our operational capabilities and policy framework. Counter Terrorism Units (CTUs) were deployed throughout the year to eight Australian international airports to combat home-grown terrorism and threats to national security. The Strategic Border Command (SBC) operating model was implemented and the National Border Targeting Centre (NBTC) was established, bringing together partner agencies to better target suspect goods and travellers. An interim ABF College, known at the time as the ACBPS College, was also successfully trialled in Sydney to deliver ABF recruitment and training ahead of its official 1 July launch.
A Client Services Decision Support Review began in February 2015 to examine how visas and citizenship decisions are made. Its findings will help to build capacity to manage expected future demand and prevailing global trends around migration, labour mobility, transnational crime and national security.
Ahead of 1 July 2015, a new Departmental Integrity Framework was launched to align professional standards and values, clarify new roles and mitigate public sector integrity risk.
Over the coming years, projected growth in the volume of goods and people moving across the border will be significant, creating opportunities for Australia.
To support responsive border systems and processes, the integrated Department will continue to develop and promote the use of new technologies to automate old processes and offer more tailored solutions. Through the establishment of the Research and Innovation Division in December 2014, new innovative business technology-based solutions that strengthen Australia's border protection will be investigated in 2015–16.
Increasing the security of systems through the greater use of biometrics, SmartGates and Trusted Trader schemes will reduce red tape and provide self-serve options that will enhance the border experience for legitimate travellers, traders and those seeking to call Australia home.
These changes will also support processes to fill crucial skills shortages, manage Australia's Humanitarian Programme and collect revenue. Combining immigration and customs resources will enable the Department to build its capability to better protect Australia's border and manage the flow of people and goods across it.