The government is spending $294 million on increased airport security as part a national security overhaul

Australian Federal Police Officers patrol Sydney Airport this week. Photo: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images.

The federal government has honed in on national security in the 2018 federal budget.

Funding has been allocated to anti-people smuggling projects, increased airport security measures, a smarter biosecurity system, and more.

“The government’s first priority to the community is to keep it safe from those who seek to do us harm,” the budget papers said.

“As our national security challenges continue to evolve, so must our systems and capabilities in order to meet these emerging threats.”

Here’s a look where the government is spending on national security.

People smuggling

The government is providing ongoing funding of $62.2 million to maintain Australian Border Force Cutter Ocean Shield at surge capacity, and sustain offshore activities to prevent and disrupt people smuggling activities.

Border services

The government announced a $294 million package aimed at improving the nation’s security against terrorist and other threats to air passengers, air cargo and international mail.

As part of that package is:

  • $122 million to increase the presence and capabilities of the Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force at nine major domestic and international airports;
  • $122 million to enhance screening capability for inbound air cargo and international mail with new and upgraded equipment and advanced technology; and
  • $50.1 million to support 64 regional airports to upgrade to new advanced screening technologies. The Government will require major airports to upgrade screening technologies.

Transnational and serious crime

The government’s budget measures will help tackle national and local crime through:

  • the appointment of the first Commonwealth Transnational Serious and Organised Crime Coordinator to ensure effective Commonwealth action against the most serious criminals;
  • stronger protection for children through the establishment of the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, a $68.6 million investment in new capabilities to target criminals engaged in child exploitation;
  • $59.1 million for the development of a new National Criminal Intelligence System that will make it harder for criminals to hide from law enforcement, no matter their location in Australia; and
  • $30 million extension of the successful Safer Communities Fund, which helps local councils and organisations to improve community security through the roll out of closed circuit television (CCTV), better lighting and crime prevention programs.
  • ICT infrastructure

    The government will provide $130 million to upgrade the Department of Home Affairs’ ICT infrastructure for visa processing, identity management and threat analysis, to better detect and prevent threats.

    The national security architecture

    The government is strengthening Australia’s security and intelligence agencies by establishing the Office of National Intelligence and providing funding for a Joint Capability Fund.

    The government is providing $70.2 million to augment the Office of the Inspector‑General of Intelligence and Security and to undertake a comprehensive review of Australia’s national security legislative framework.

    A smarter biosecurity system

    The government is dedicating $102 million to a smarter biosecurity system to better target the prediction, surveillance and enforcement of biosecurity risks. The government will trial new diagnostic technologies, enhance industry partnerships and build national capacity to respond to pest and disease incursions.

    Regional relationships

    The government has built on the Foreign Policy White Paper, announced on 23 November 2017, by implementing policies to expand Australia’s economic and security engagement in the Indo‑Pacific region.

    It has taken steps to expand Australia’s presence in the region with new diplomatic arrangements in the Indo‑Pacific region; as well as support for people‑to‑people links through expanding the Indo‑Pacific Special Visits Program and establishing an Expanded Pacific Information Network.

    Additional funding for the Australian Secret Intelligence Service

    The government will provide additional funding over two years from 2018-19 to enhance the capacity of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service to meet the government’s national security objectives.

    This national security measure underlines the Government’s commitment to a safe and secure Australia.

    The expenditure for this measure is not for publication due to national security reasons.

    A National criminal intelligence system

    The government will provide $59.1 million over four years from 2018-19 to enable the joint Commonwealth-States build of a National Criminal Intelligence System (NCIS).

    The NCIS will provide a national, unified picture of criminal activity to better enable law enforcement and intelligence agencies to combat criminal and national security threats.

    The AFP, ASIO and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission

    The government will provide additional funding to support the operations of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to strengthen their capacity to meet the Government’s national security objectives.

    This measure includes:

    • $12.6 million over four years from 2018-19 to the AFP to continue proceeds of crime litigation; and
    • $24.4 million in 2018-19 to ASIO to support current operations and undertake preliminary work to enhance future operations.

    This national security measure underlines the Government’s commitment to a safe and
    secure Australia.