Today is a significant day in the history of Australia’s border protection, with the official launch of the Australian Border Force (ABF), the new operational arm of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
The inaugural ABF Commissioner, Roman Quaedvlieg APM, was sworn in at a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra today.
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said this heralds the beginning of a new chapter in Australia’s border protection history.
“The ABF will be a world-class organisation dedicated to keeping Australia as safe, secure and economically competitive as possible,” Mr Dutton said.
“The Australian Border Force will be the nation’s primary border protection agency and will work closely with officers from the Department and partner agencies to protect Australia from those who would seek to break our laws or bring harm to our community”.
The establishment of the ABF was announced in 2014 and extensive work has been carried out to merge the functions of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
The ABF will undertake all the operational responsibilities previously held by both agencies including intercepting prohibited imports at the border, immigration compliance activities and maintaining the good order of Australia’s detention facilities.
The ABF will partner with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to combat border-related crimes. The ABF will also target national security threats with dedicated counter-terrorism units at Australia’s major airports.
ABF officers will also patrol Australia’s maritime domain and continue the mission of Operation Sovereign Borders under the leadership of Major General Andrew Bottrell.
An equally important priority is the quick and professional facilitation across the border of legitimate travellers and traders.
“Industry professionals and partners in international business can be assured that the ABF is serious about enhancing Australia’s economic competitiveness through border clearance and facilitation,” Mr Dutton said.
These changes reflect the Government’s focus on protecting national security at the border.
“Creating the ABF and one Department dedicated to the movement of goods and people across Australia’s borders means we are equipped to deal with future challenges and threats to our national security and financial prosperity and our borders are stronger than ever before,” Mr Dutton said.
ABF officers will be sworn in at ceremonies around the country over the coming weeks. The Minister will attend a swearing-in ceremony in Melbourne this afternoon.