The Australian Government took another step today to increase the integrity of Australia’s borders, with legislation passed to strengthen our ability to check the identity of travellers through the biometric programme.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton welcomed the passing of the Migration Amendment (Strengthening Biometrics Integrity) Bill, which enhances border agencies’ abilities to verify the identity of citizens crossing the Australian border and non-citizens seeking to enter and remain in Australia, and introduces broad new powers to combat terrorist threats and detect criminals.
Mr Dutton said the Bill will also specifically support the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Australian Border Force’s efforts to prevent human trafficking, particularly of minors.
“The trafficking of children in particular is abhorrent and Australia must do everything it can to prevent its borders from being used in this evil trade,” Mr Dutton said.
“What this Bill will achieve is a balance between fast and non-intrusive identity checks for genuine travellers, including children, and preventing those who would seek to do harm from entering our community.”
This legislation comes after recent border and terrorism-related events in Australia and overseas. These expanded powers will also help identify returning terrorists.
Mr Dutton said, while the current legislative framework had been effective in supporting Australia’s border protection efforts, it was time to update it to keep pace with new biometric technology.
“It’s important that our border protection officers are given the tools to effectively meet the range of new threats at our border,” Mr Dutton said.
The new powers, which cover both citizens and non-citizens departing and entering Australia, provide a single updated framework to collect biometric identity information, such as facial images and fingerprints.
Biometric collection involves capturing a traveller’s physical characteristics to identify and link an individual to security, law enforcement and immigration information.