Introduction background

From Federation to the Australian Border Force is dedicated to the men and women of the Customs Service who have served our nation for the past 100-plus years.

Throughout our history, we have held a great responsibility, and our officers, both past and present, are the story.

Pre-Federation

Pre-Federation

Sydney Customs House, pre Federation
Sydney Customs House, pre Federation Source: Customs Collection

Overview

  • 12th/13th Centuries The origin of ‘Customs’ can be traced back to the 12th/13th centuries where it is referenced in the Magna Carta, as a long-standing term for the collection of duties on imports.
  • 1810-15 Smugglers’ lookouts built at Barrenjoey and La Perouse in New South Wales.
  • 1845 Construction is completed on the first Customs House in Circular Quay, Sydney.
  • 1853 Customs Consolidation Act - gives effect to Australian colonies taking responsibility for their own Customs, previously administered by England.
  • 1854 A showdown between New South Wales and Victorian Customs officers occurs at Echuca, but conflict is avoided due the strong negotiating skills of the commanding officers involved.
  • 1872 Edith Hanson, widely considered to be the first female Customs employee, joins the New South Wales Customs Department as a “typewriter”.
  • March 1883 Northern Territory Sub-collector Alfred Searcy conducts a patrol in the chartered cutter Silver Cloud to advise Malay fishing vessels on the Australian coast that they must be licensed and pay duty on the products they take. On his second voyage in Silver Cloud, Searcy collects duty levied on the catch on 3 Malay vessels he encounters on 26 December 1883.
  • 1885-1887 Searcy draws up tariffs and initiates the collection of license fees from macassan trepangers (fishermen). Searcy’s 1887 tariff is used as a model for the first federal tariff in 1901. It is said that by the time Searcy left the Territory in 1896, it was largely subdued due to the efforts of the swashbuckling Searcy and staff.
Day, David 1992, Smugglers and sailors: the customs history of Australia 1788–1901, AGPS, Canberra.
Spurling, Kathryn ‘Women in Customs’, Australian Customs History Journal, no. 6, December 1994.
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1900–1920

1900–1920

The first federal ministry
The first federal ministry Source: National Archives of Australia

1 January 1901

The Department of Trade and Customs is established as one of the first seven Commonwealth Departments of State following Federation.

Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900

4 July 1901

The Honourable Charles Kingston, the Minister for Trade and Customs, announces in Parliament that Dr Harry Wollaston will take up the position as the first Comptroller-General of Commonwealth Customs.

‘The Collection of Customs Duties’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 July 1901, p. 9, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14395813.
Dr Harry Wollaston
Dr Harry Wollaston Source: Customs Collection
Annotated copy of the <em>Customs Act 1901</em>
Annotated copy of the Customs Act 1901 Source: National Archives of Australia

4 October 1901

The Customs Act 1901 is given Royal Assent (3 October) and officially commences as the sixth act of Federation.

The Federal Tariff is also announced as part of the Budget in October, and is implemented via a gradual process between 1901 and 1907.

Australian Government Gazette, 1901

1901

In 1901, Trade and Customs has 1130 staff at 67 offices across the country. The Department included a Patents Branch based at central office in Melbourne, and government laboratories in New South Wales.

Classification of the Commonwealth Public Service, Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1904.
Commonwealth of Australia Customs Flag of 1901
Commonwealth of Australia Customs Flag of 1901 Source: Customs Collection
<em>H.M. Customs Launch No. 1</em>, c. 1905
H.M. Customs Launch No. 1, c. 1905 Source: Customs Collection

1905

Following Federation, the Department of Trade and Customs operated no less than five Customs launches, three in Melbourne and one each in Sydney and Newcastle. The H.M. Customs Launch No. 1 was the first dedicated vessel in Sydney used to ferry boarding officers from Sydney Customs House through the harbour to meet arriving vessels.

Day, David 1996, Contraband and controversy: the customs history of Australia from 1901, AGPS, Canberra.

1907

In an effort to control the flow of alcohol into the country, Customs officers were tasked with examining the potency of barrels of liquor imported into Australia. ‘Gaugers’ were employed to calculate the contents and alcoholic strength of the liquid contained in the barrel to ensure that it met import standards. Based on the results, the item was either cleared for release or seized by the department. Unfortunately, these imports were difficult to control and encouraged large-scale smuggling and illicit distilling in Australia.

Day, David 1996, Contraband and controversy: the customs history of Australia from 1901, AGPS, Canberra.
Customs officers at Central Wharf, Sydney, c.1907.
Customs officers at Central Wharf, Sydney, c.1907. Source: Customs Collection

1915

At the time of Federation most Australian colonies had introduced income taxes, each with its own rules and administered in its own way. This was further complicated with some jurisdictions recording tax according to a taxpayer’s residence, and other according to where the income was earned. Increasing populations and mobility between states following Federation saw these systems become problematic.

Federal income tax was introduced in 1915, in addition to existing state income taxes, in order to finance involvement in the First World War. The federal tax rates were low and borne largely by higher income taxpayers to minimise double taxation. Once the war had ended, the federal government continued to impose income tax. This meant that two tiers of government – state and federal – shared and competed for taxation revenue, under two different taxing systems that were managed by the separate bureaucracies. It wasn’t until 1942 that a uniform tax system was imposed. This shift towards taxation as a primary provider of revenue for the Commonwealth relieved pressure on Customs as the original source of federal income.

Reinhardt, Sam & Steel, Lee 2006, A brief history of Australia’s tax system, Economic Roundup Winter 2006, The Treasury.

January 1917

Germany began its unrestricted submarine campaign against Allied and neutral shipping which substantially reduced Customs revenue in Australia. Based on the advice of Comptroller-General Stephen Mills, the government responds by budgeting to decrease Customs revenue for the year 1917-18. The federal income tax introduced in 1915 assists in making up the shortfall in revenue, and by 1918-19 makes up more than one-quarter of all government revenue.

Day, David 1996, Contraband and controversy: the customs history of Australia from 1901, AGPS, Canberra.
Customs staff welcome their uniformed colleagues home from the Great War at Sargent’s Café, Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, c. 1920
Customs staff welcome their uniformed colleagues home from the Great War at Sargent’s Café, Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, c. 1920 Source: Customs Collection
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1920-1940

1920-1940

Egon Kisch addresses an anti-Nazi rally in Sydney, 1934
Egon Kisch addresses an anti-Nazi rally in Sydney, 1934 Source: State Library of NSW: a128969.

1934

Under the White Australia Policy, non-European immigrants were required to write and sign a passage of 50 words in a European language as directed by a Customs officer. Those who failed the test were refused entry to Australia and were deported.

The most famous case involving the Dictation Test was that of Egon Kisch, a Prague-born Jewish socialist, who came to Australia to address the Movement Against War and Fascism in 1934. Upon receiving a telegram from Britain warning that Kisch was a communist, the conservative Lyons Government attempted to stop him disembarking, and when he was arrested, he jumped from the liner onto Station Pier and broke his leg.

Kisch was given the Dictation Test in Gaelic, due to his fluency in English and a number of other European languages, as an attempt to thwart his entry into Australia. However, Kisch took his case to the High Court and won.

Museum Victoria, Immigration Restriction Act, Journeys to Australia, State Government of Victoria.

1937

Captain Theo Haultain takes command of the Larrakia, a vessel belonging to the Civil Aviation Authority but regularly used by Customs to conduct fisheries patrols. As a result of the patrols, Haultain escorts one or two Japanese fishing vessels to Darwin to be prosecuted. The proceedings are unsuccessful.

Haultain, Charles, T.G. 1971, Watch off Arnhem Land, Roebuck Society, Canberra.
Captain Charles Theodore Haultain
Captain Charles Theodore Haultain Source: Customs Collection
The Customs cutter Vigilant, Sydney Harbour
The Customs cutter Vigilant, Sydney Harbour Source: Customs Collection

May 1938

The Vigilant is believed to be the first vessel specifically built for Customs, with an innovative aluminium superstructure and carrying a three-pounder gun. The Vigilant was a shallow-draft vessel, measuring about 102 feet long with a range of 2,500 miles. There was some disagreement between Comptroller-General Abbott and the director of naval ordnance about the need to arm the Vigilant. However, when Captain Haultain arrived to assume command of the Vigilant in May 1938, it was decided that the three-pounder be loaded with blank ammunition to enable it to intimidate perceived threats without actually firing upon them. This also provides an option for the vessel to be used in times of war.

Day, David 1996, Contraband and controversy: the customs history of Australia from 1901, AGPS, Canberra.
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1940s

1940s

HMAS <em>Vigilant</em> can be seen directly in front of the explosion of the <em>SS Neptunia</em> at Stokes Hill Wharf, 1942
HMAS Vigilant can be seen directly in front of the explosion of the SS Neptunia at Stokes Hill Wharf, 1942 Source: Australian War Memorial [134955]

October 1940

The Vigilant is requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy for wartime service. In 1941 HMAS Vigilant, as she became known, was charged with protecting the harbour approaches during the bombing of Darwin. Following the first air raid, the SS Neptunia, loaded with munitions, explodes and burns at Stokes Hill Wharf in Darwin. In the image shown, the HMAS Vigilant can be seen directly in front of the plume of smoke assisting with the rescue of survivors. The Vigilant also played an important role in the Battle of Timor in 1942, where she was relied upon as a supply vessel, and assisted in the search for survivors from the HMAS Armidale.

www.ww2australia.gov.au
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1950s

1950s

Preventive officers walk the wharf in Sydney, 1950s.
Preventive officers walk the wharf in Sydney, 1950s. Source: Customs Collection

1950s

According to David Day, ‘Customs had always been an uneasy amalgamation of clerical and law-enforcement divisions’. In the 1950s, the establishment of preventive officers made clearly defined organisational distinctions between clerical/revenue collection officers and those in a law-enforcement or community protection roles.

Preventive officers became the new face of Customs: the uniformed officers of the Service, who examined the baggage of arriving passengers, searched vessels and helped deter people from smuggling contraband into Australia.

Day, David 1996, Contraband and controversy: the customs history of Australia from 1901, AGPS, Canberra.

1951

By 1951, the Department of Trade and Customs has over 2700 staff at 35 offices across Australia, and in London and New York. Having relocated to Canberra in 1928, central office now comprises 363 staff, with the largest number of state-based staff in New South Wales at 1000.

Department of Trade and Customs, Report of Activities, 1951
Australian Customs Flag c1904 to 1988
Australian Customs Flag c1904 to 1988 Source: Customs Collection
Melbourne Investigations Officer Ray Funge with a selection of seized timepieces in the mid-1950s.
Melbourne Investigations Officer Ray Funge with a selection of seized timepieces in the mid-1950s. Source: Customs Collection

Mid-1950s

While contraband in the modern context generally refers to drugs, weapons and other prohibited imports, the importation of items such as clocks and transistor radios was once restricted. During the 1950s, a range of timepieces were seized as part of a major investigation in Melbourne. Pictured is former Melbourne Investigations officer Ray Funge with a selection of time pieces seized during an operation in the mid-1950s.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, ‘History Corner’, CustomsNEWS [online], 49th edition, 13 March 2013.

1957

Mrs Athena Antonopoulou (affectionately known as Mrs A) became one of the first women to join her male counterparts on the waterfront in the 1950s. Mrs A was employed as an interpreter with the boarding crew that met vessels as they approached Sydney Heads on their way into the harbour. Mrs A came to Australia with her husband, who was posted to Sydney as the Secretary-General of the Alliance Française organisation. With enviable multi-lingual skills at her disposal, Mrs A overcame the traditional hurdles of the day and was placed alongside the Customs men at the Arrivals Hall. Mrs A is also credited with creating the first female uniform, as one did not exist at the time.

Day, David 1996, Contraband and controversy: the customs history of Australia from 1901, AGPS, Canberra.
Wilson, Alistair ‘Mrs A, Customs Interpreter’, Australian Customs History Journal, no. 6, December 1994.
Mrs Athena Antonopoulou
Mrs Athena Antonopoulou Source: Customs Collection
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1960s

1960s

Sydney Cove Passenger Terminal
Sydney Cove Passenger Terminal Source: Wolfgang Sievers 1913–2007, National Library of Australia, an14156306-7.

December 1960

Sydney Cove Passenger Terminal is officially opened by the Hon. J.B Renshaw, MLA Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Lands. The facility is built to provide better access for larger passenger ships built after World War II, many of which brought thousands of migrants from Europe to Australia.

Ironically, by the time it was completed, air travel was becoming the preferred method of travel. The first ship to use the terminal was the P&O Cruise liner, SS Oriana, on her maiden voyage from Southampton to Sydney. Customs officers processed around 2000 passengers through the new arrivals hall with the SS Oriana’s arrival.

In comparison, the number of cruise passengers processed in a single day in January 2015 reached 5,500 due to the arrival of two large cruise ships in Sydney Harbour. Passenger processing at Sydney Airport also reached a record number in January 2015, with 51,000 passengers processed through the International Terminal.

‘New Terminal For Shipping', The Canberra Times, 20 December 1960, p. 25, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133923810.
Sydney Cove Passenger Terminal, Office of Environment & Heritage, NSW Government.

1969

Customs first detector dogs are introduced at airports to assist in sniffing out illicit substances following reported successes with sniffer dogs overseas. Customs used several breeds of dogs in the early days of drug detection, including German Shepherds, Labradors and some smaller breeds. In the 1990s, Customs introduced a pilot breeding program for its detector dogs. Research indicated that Labradors were best suited to the role. Today, Customs detector dogs are trained to detect a range of illicit drugs, firearms, explosives and currency, and have the ability to screen large volumes of people and goods.

Day, David 1996, Contraband and controversy: the customs history of Australia from 1901, AGPS, Canberra.
Detector dog ‘Houston’ with his handler Lee Hennessy
Detector dog ‘Houston’ with his handler Lee Hennessy Source: Customs Collection
Federal Bureau of Narcotics Badge
Federal Bureau of Narcotics Badge Source: John De Belle

December 1969

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics, is established by Comptroller-General Alan Carmody as a result of drug control responsibilities handed down by the then Prime Minister John Gorton to the Department of Trade and Customs. The Bureau operates under the guidance of seasoned Customs officer Harvey Bates to lead the charge against illegal drug trafficking, fraud and smuggling activity. This event saw Trade and Customs take on new and significant powers to tackle drug control in a law enforcement capacity. For this reason, officers of the Narcotics Bureau received training in areas such as intelligence and surveillance, investigation methods and court activity. Officers were also sent overseas to learn about the latest developments in anti-narcotics work.

Day, David 1996, Contraband and controversy: the customs history of Australia from 1901, AGPS, Canberra.

1969-1972

A joint feasibility study between Customs and the Public Service Board commences to investigate the application of Automatic Data Processing systems to invoicing within the Department of Customs and Excise. The study is designed to examine ways to provide additional and immediate information to enable the Department to perform functions more effectively and efficiently.

Due to the magnitude of the project and the lack of experience in Australia around real-time computer systems, it is suggested that the Department acquire the services of experienced consultants. World-wide tenders are invited in 1969 and the Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) in California secures the contract.

Work commences in November 1969, with the expectation that it will take forty-three months to complete. The first major system is implemented one month early in October 1972.

Dowling, Bill ‘The Introduction of Computers’, Australian Customs History Journal, no. 2, June 1990.
An early Customs visual display unit
An early Customs visual display unit Source: Customs Collection
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1970s

1970s

INSPECT workflow diagram, 1972
INSPECT workflow diagram, 1972 Source: Customs Collection

1972

Following the implementation of an overarching computer system within Customs, work begins on the second stage of implementation. Customs effectively implements the first automated import entry system in the world – the Integrated National System for Processing Entries from Customs Terminals (or INSPECT). Prior to this, all customs entries were processed manually.

ACS Submission to the Joint Committee on Public Accounts and Audit, Inquiry into the Management and Integrity of Electronic Information in the Commonwealth, 10 January 2003.
Dowling, Bill ‘The Introduction of Computers’, Australian Customs History Journal, no. 2, June 1990.

1972-1973

For much of the twentieth century, Customs was responsible for managing the censorship of publications and films imported into Australia. Customs censors were charged with weeding out material that was considered obscene, blasphemous or salacious under the protection of various laws and regulations.

Of the 1,000s of books banned by Customs censors over the years, some of the more prominent titles include Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, James Joyce’s Ulysses and J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

The election of the Whitlam government in 1972 resulted in the beginning of the end of literary censorship by Customs, and the responsibility was ultimately handed over to the Attorney-General’s Department in 1973.

Moore, Nicole 2012, The censor’s library, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia.
Shirley, Bronwyn ‘Customs Versus Lady Chatterley’, Australian Customs History Journal, no. 3, September 1991.
A banned title from the Customs collection
A banned title from the Customs collection Source: Customs Collection
A RAAF Tracker aircraft on patrol off the coast of Australia
A RAAF Tracker aircraft on patrol off the coast of Australia Source: Customs Collection

1974

Customs Coastal Air Sea Operations Support (CASOS) Group is established to provide ‘transport and expertise to enable officers to carry out aggressive anti-smuggling patrols of the Australian coastline and the surrounding seas and oceans’ (Day 1996, pp. 421). However, Customs still had limited means to follow up suspicious activity, and often sought the assistance of the defence forces to do so.

Day, David 1996, Contraband and controversy: the customs history of Australia from 1901, AGPS, Canberra.
Department of Police and Customs 1975, Contact, vol. 1, no. 3, July, Canberra.

1974

Customs introduces the SEARCH system, which enables the retrieval of information including that concerning importers, suppliers and commodities. Officers now have the electronic capability to search records for importer details, as well as the quantity, value and origin of their import/s.

The introduction of SEARCH greatly simplifies the task of gathering this information, making it more efficient and effective than the previous method of sourcing data from hard copy records.

Dowling, Bill ‘The Introduction of Computers’, Australian Customs History Journal, no. 2, June 1990.
Customs computer room, 1970s.
Customs computer room, 1970s. Source: Customs Collection
Passengers at the primary line at Perth International Airport, 1976.
Passengers at the primary line at Perth International Airport, 1976. Source: Customs Collection

August 1974

The Passenger Automatic Selection System (PASS) programme is introduced as the standard method of alert-list checking at the airport.

The pilot system was introduced at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport, before being implemented at Melbourne’s Tullamarine and Perth’s International Airports by 1976. PASS was not considered an end in itself, but intended to form the basis of a more sophisticated passenger processing and information retrieval system. This system replaced the use of a physical Teledex for sourcing passenger information.

Department of Police and Customs 1976, Contact, vol. 1, no. 9, March, Canberra.
Dowling, Bill ‘The Introduction of Computers’, Australian Customs History Journal, no. 2, June 1990.

1975

The Department of Police and Customs is established by the Whitlam Government incorporating the new Bureau of Customs. The Australia Police is established incorporating the Commonwealth Police, NT Police and ACT Police and Customs investigative functions. Six short months later, following the Australian constitutional crisis, the Fraser Government takes office and the Department is dismantled. The Australia Police is disbanded and the Bureau of Customs is transferred to the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs.

Australian Customs Service Annual Report 1985-86
Department of Police and Customs 1975, Contact, vol. 1, no. 1, May, Canberra.
Inspector Colin Winchester, Supt. Tony Barge, Max Robinson and Secretary Alan Carmody at an Australia Police event in 1975.
Inspector Colin Winchester, Supt. Tony Barge, Max Robinson and Secretary Alan Carmody at an Australia Police event in 1975. Source: Customs Collection
Construction of J Class ACV <em>Jabiru</em>
Construction of J Class ACV Jabiru Source: Customs Collection

September 1975

The first Customs-owned ocean-going patrol boat J Class ACV Jabiru is constructed by De Havilland Marine in Bankstown, Sydney. The Jabiru was the first of three 14-metre launches employed to provide an expanded Customs presence in northern Australian waters, and improved capability in coastal surveillance and protection.

The Jabiru worked mainly out of Cairns but provided patrols in the waters of Mackay, Townsville and other nearby areas of North Queensland. Two additional J Class boats joined the Customs fleet not long after, with the Jacana stationed in Broome and the Jerboa stationed at Thursday Island.

Department of Police and Customs 1975, Contact, vol. 1, no. 6, October, Canberra.

1976

Customs introduces the Customs On-Line Method of Preparing for Invoices Lodgeable Entries system (COMPILE). Under the new system, agents and importers can use visual display units and printers in their own offices connected to departmental systems. This new system eliminated the tedious and time-consuming clerical work required to input this information into Customs systems prior to this date. Thirty years later, on 3 February 2006, the COMPILE system is eventually decommissioned, having been replaced by the Integrated Cargo System (ICS) turned on in stages between 2004 and 2005.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2005, ‘ABS management of the impact of the implementation of the imports component of the new customs system’, International Merchandise Imports Australia, August, Catalogue no. 5439.0 ABS, Canberra.
Department of Police and Customs 1975, Contact, vol. 1, no. 6, October, Canberra.
Dowling, Bill ‘The Introduction of Computers’, Australian Customs History Journal, no. 2, June 1990.
Customs computer operator, 1972.
Customs computer operator, 1972. Source: Customs Collection
Customs Officer Frank Dalton (dec) carries a refugee child to shore
Customs Officer Frank Dalton (dec) carries a refugee child to shore Source: Customs Collection

1976

The 1970s saw the arrival of the first wave of boat people into Australia, with many seeking asylum from the aftermath of the Vietnam War. On 26 April 1976, the first boat arrived in Darwin carrying five Indochinese men. In the five years that followed, there were 2059 Vietnamese boat arrivals. The last of these arrived in August 1981. A second wave of Indochinese asylum seekers came in November 1989, and the next nine years saw around 300 people per year arrive from places such as Cambodia, Vietnam and southern China. When the third wave began in 1999—predominantly those seeking asylum from the Middle East—the role of ‘people smugglers’ emerged as larger numbers of people sought asylum in Australia.

Australia, Parliament, Research Papers, Boat arrivals in Australia since 1976 (Janet Phillips and Harriet Spinks), Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2013-14.
Department of Police and Customs 1975, Contact, vol. 1, no. 6, October, Canberra.

1977

A little-known fact about the Service is that for a period of time commencing in 1977, Customs Houses across the country were temporarily converted to the state headquarters for the Australian Electoral Office to cover federal elections. Our secure IT network was the only one equipped to transmit polling results nationally as they came in. It was used by the national tally room and television networks with the tally room terminals servicing areas such as the control room, tally board, party rooms, VIP rooms, press and radio with special services provided to Mr Fraser and Mr Hawke as prime ministerial candidates.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, ‘History Corner’, CustomsNEWS [online], 61st edition, 14 August 2013.
Department of Industry and Commerce 1983, Newslink staff magazine, no. 1, April, p. 2, Australian Government, Canberra.
ACBPS officers assist in the tally room, Federal Election, 1983.
ACBPS officers assist in the tally room, Federal Election, 1983. Source: Customs Collection
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1980s

1980s

Customs aircraft in action
Customs aircraft in action Source: Customs Collection

1980

In 1980, Customs let a contract for three aircraft suitable for offshore surveillance that also had a capacity to support inland remote area patrols. Three Australian-built Nomad N24Bs were deployed with short take-off and landing (STOL) capability and radar to support long range surveillance. The aircraft were owned and piloted by HC Sleigh and the back of the aircraft communications and radar were operated by Customs Officers who had completed the radar observer’s course. The aircraft were based at Port Hedland, Darwin and Cairns. The first aircraft rego VH-FCS was recognised as being the First Customs Searchmaster.

Department of Business and Consumer Affairs Annual Report 1980-81

August 1980

Customs has a total of 18 vessels of 13 different types in operation. These vessels range from 2 x 21.3 metre to 6.1 metre half cabin runabout, as well as 23 open boats including a 5.5 metre river truck used by divers to a 2.4 metre inflatable tender. In 1980, a Fleet Rationalisation Programme commences resulting in the disposal of approximately 40 ad-hoc vessels and the introduction of four new classes in addition to the J-boats:

  • Four Minister Class - 20m for operations out to the Territorial Sea;
  • Six Comptroller-General Class - 12m for operations in major harbours and approaches;
  • Fourteen Collector Class - 7m trailer-able boats in major outports for inshore operations from those ports and small ports between bases; and
  • 4m trailer-able/Car-top for river and estuary operations.
Australian Customs Service Marine Training Handbook 1986
The Edwin Abbott c1982
The Edwin Abbott c1982 Source: Customs Collection
Bernard Delaney, <em>Narc! Inside the Australian Bureau of Narcotics</em>, 1979
Bernard Delaney, Narc! Inside the Australian Bureau of Narcotics, 1979 Source: Customs Collection

6 November 1980

The Fraser Government announces the disbandment of the Australian Narcotics Bureau, at the recommendation of the Williams Royal Commission. It is decided that Australian Customs will remain responsible for enforcing federal laws relating to importation of illicit drugs at the customs barrier. Importation of illicit drugs taking place elsewhere becomes the responsibility of the Australian Federal Police (established on 19 October 1979).

Australian Federal Police 2009, The First Thirty Years, Commonwealth of Australia.

1982

The Bureau of Customs is transferred to the Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce and becomes the Australian Customs Service.

Department of Industry and Commerce Annual Report 1981-82
National Archives of Australia, Administrative Arrangements, Commonwealth Gazette No. 91, 7 May 1982.
Australian Customs Service badge
Australian Customs Service badge Source: Customs Collection

1982-1983

The Secretary of the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs embarks on a major reform of the Customs Service to merge the Third Division (clerical officers) and Fourth Division (Preventive Officers) into a new Customs Officer Banded structure. All staff undergo conversion training and a new twelve-month training programme for Assistant Customs Officers commences in 1983. This significant overhaul is designed to increase the “scope, skills and mobility of every officer”.

Restructuring of the Australian Customs Service: the Inspection Proposals, Inspection Bulletin, no. 1, December 1980.

1 July 1985

On 10 June 1985, the Parliament established the Australian Customs Service as an independent agency of the Australian Public Service within the portfolio of the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce. The statutory office of Comptroller-General of Customs, to administer the ACS, is also established at this time. The Australian Customs Service formally commences operation on 1 July 1985.

Australian Customs Service Annual Report 1985-86
Customs Administration Act 1985
Customs Administration Bill 1985
Northern Australian Sub-Collectors Conference, Darwin Customs House, 1985
Northern Australian Sub-Collectors Conference, Darwin Customs House, 1985 Source: Customs Collection
The official response to the Benson Review in April 1987 - L-R: Paul Murphy, Frank Kelly, Tom Hayes, Jim Conlon and Harvey Bates.
The official response to the Benson Review in April 1987 - L-R: Paul Murphy, Frank Kelly, Tom Hayes, Jim Conlon and Harvey Bates. Source: Customs Collection

March 1987

The Government undertakes the Review of Systems for Dealing with Fraud on the Commonwealth conducted by Reg Benson, a representative of the deputy Crown solicitor’s office and a former Customs officer. The Benson Review, as it is known, follows increasing government concern about white-collar fraud and involves the review of Customs legislation and practices.

In response to the Benson Review, the Australian Customs Service is divided into nine national programs—industry assistance; inland revenue; import and export control; barrier control; passenger processing; investigations; inspectorate, coordination and services; and systems—controlled by regional managers reporting to Canberra-based national managers.

The report represents a turning point in the Government taking a proactive rather than reactive approach to fraud prevention and control, particularly in a law enforcement environment.

Day, David 1996, Contraband and controversy: the customs history of Australia from 1901, AGPS, Canberra.

1988

Customs introduces its EXIT (Export Integration) computer system, allowing exporters to lodge documents electronically. The EXIT system is essentially replaced by the Integrated Cargo System in 2004.

Dowling, Bill ‘The Introduction of Computers’, Australian Customs History Journal, no. 2, June 1990.
A Customs officer entering data on an early computer terminal
A Customs officer entering data on an early computer terminal Source: Customs Collection
Nomad Searchmaster aircraft
Nomad Searchmaster aircraft Source: Customs Collection

August 1988

Australian Coastal Surveillance Organisation becomes Coastwatch and is transferred to Australian Customs Service. The organisation assumes the role of coordinating all civil maritime surveillance activities on behalf of the Government.

While Coastwatch retains its focus on drugs, fisheries, quarantine, immigration and search and rescue, its responsibilities are broadened to include whale monitoring, marine pollution, protection of shipwrecks and sovereignty claims, to meet the needs of a range of government clients.

Day, David 1996, Contraband and controversy: the customs history of Australia from 1901, AGPS, Canberra.
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1990s

1990s

Customs officers entering data
Customs officers entering data Source: Customs Collection

1990

The Australian Customs Service begins accepting electronic payment of duties via electronic funds transfer. Usage of electronic systems for lodging customs entries also increases and by 2000, 99 per cent of import and export entries are lodged electronically.

Australian Customs Service Annual Reports

1993

In early 1993, a three-year pilot breeding program begins using Labradors purchased from the Guide Dog Association of Australia and leading breeders. The first pup, named Fred, was whelped in May of that year. The Customs Detector Dog Breeding Program was developed to produce a reliable, high-quality supply of dogs. This development included research into the best breed of dog to meet the requirements of Customs. The Labrador was selected for its focus, versatility, temperament and strong hunt-and-retrieve drives. A three-year study was held at the Customs National Breeding and Development Centre in Melbourne in conjunction with the University of Melbourne and the Guide Dog Association of Australia.

www.customs.gov.au
Customs Detector Dog
Customs Detector Dog Source: Customs Collection
Person using keyboard
  Source: Customs Collection

August 1993

The first LAN-based Electronic Mail (e-Mail) system is implemented across the Australian Customs Service, following successful trials in Canberra and Brisbane in late 1992.

Australian Customs Service, CustomsNEWS, no. 5, September 1992.

December 1993

In 1987, a Sydney customs consultancy and its clients were investigated by Customs over their suspected involvement in schemes designed to minimise payment of Customs duties (the Midford Paramount Case). Customs actions in the case resulted in the matter being subject to a Parliamentary inquiry by Joint Committee of Public Accounts. The Committee produced a report that was highly critical of Customs and recommended compensation be paid to Midford Paramount.

In 1993, the federal Government appointed a Committee of Review to the Australian Customs Service, chaired by former Westpac CEO, Frank Conroy. The resulting report, ‘The Turning Point’, was published in December 1993. The report made a number of recommendations that ultimately led to major structural and cultural changes within the organisation, widespread legislative reform and significant changes in the way Customs dealt with industry.

Committee of Review into the Australian Customs Service, Conroy Report: Review of the Australian Customs Service 1993 - the Turning Point, December 1993.
Joint Committee on Public Accounts, Inquiry into the Midford Paramount case and related matters, 18 December 1992.

1995

The title of Customs Comptroller-General is replaced with Chief Executive Officer, and Customs Collectors are also renamed Regional Directors, as recommendations of the Review of the Australian Customs Service.

Committee of Review into the Australian Customs Service, Conroy Report: Review of the Australian Customs Service 1993 - the Turning Point, December 1993.

September 1995

The first Customs Homepage is introduced on the Internet, hosted by the National Library of Australia site.

Australian Customs Service, CustomsNEWS, no. 20, August 1995.
Attorney-General's Department
Attorney-General's Department Source: www.agd.gov.au

October 1998

The Australian Customs Service becomes an agency within the Attorney-General’s Portfolio.

Administrative Arrangements Order, no. S514, 22 October 1998, Commonwealth of Australia.

October 1998

As part of machinery of government changes following the 1998 Federal election, administration of Excise duties is transferred to the Australian Taxation Office. 248 officers transferred to the ATO in July 1999, ending Customs’ 98-year role in collecting excise duty on manufactured alcohol, tobacco and petroleum.

Administrative Arrangements Order, no. S514, 22 October 1998, Commonwealth of Australia.
Australian Customs Service, CustomsNEWS, no. 42, February 1999.
Customs excise staff move to the Australian Taxation Office
Customs excise staff move to the Australian Taxation Office Source: Customs Collection
Customs officers travel down a burnt-out street in Dili.
Customs officers travel down a burnt-out street in Dili. Source: Customs Collection

1999

Customs conducts its first United Nations support role in assisting with the establishment of border controls in East Timor.

Australian Customs Service Annual Report 1999-2000
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2000s

2000s

The Tourist Refund Scheme mobile app
The Tourist Refund Scheme mobile app Source: Customs Collection

2000

On 1 July 2000 the Goods and Services Tax (GST) commenced at a single rate of 10 per cent. The GST replaced the sales tax system which had many different rates and had been in place since 1930. Customs worked closely with the Australian Taxation Office to implement the new indirect tax regime with the new Luxury Car Tax, and Wine Equalisation Tax also applying at the border. With the GST came a new system called the Tourist Refund Scheme which was administered by Customs and enabled departing passengers to receive a refund of the GST amount charged on goods purchased in Australia.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 1998, ‘Australian Economic Indicators’, June 1998, Catalogue no. 1350.0 ABS, Canberra.

2000

Customs officers have carried weapons in certain circumstances since Federation. Customs vessels always have carried a variety of weapons, including machine guns and rifles. In 1999, retired SA police Commissioner David Hunt conducted a review into the need to provide Customs Marine Officers with personal defensive equipment (PDE), including side arms. As a result of this review National Marine Unit officers were armed in early 2000. Following this the Australian Customs Service armed its Investigations Officers and those working in Border Operations.

www.customs.gov.au
Officer wears PDE on board ACV <em>Cape Byron</em>
Officer wears PDE on board ACV Cape Byron Source: Customs Collection
Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney 2000 Olympics
Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney 2000 Olympics Source: Wikimedia Commons

September – October 2000

Customs assists in the facilitation of increased volumes of people and goods entering and departing Australian during the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Customs officers are responsible for the movement of 62,000 Games athletes and officials using Olympic Travel Authorities, and approve $633.7 million in temporary Games imports. 119 seizures of over 149000 fake or unauthorised items of Olympic merchandise are also made.

Australian Customs Service Annual Report 2000-01

2001

In 2001, the Australian Customs Service has over 4300 staff located at 36 offices across Australia. The Service also has a number of staff in overseas posts in Bangkok, Brussels, Tokyo and Washington.

Australian Customs Service Annual Report 2000-01
Australian Customs flag, 1988-2015
Australian Customs flag, 1988-2015 Source: Customs Collection
Centenary medallions presented to staff
Centenary medallions presented to staff Source: Customs Collection

Jan 2001

The Australian Customs Service celebrates 100 years of service with the Centenary of Federation and Customs. All serving Customs officers are presented with a commemorative medal, engraved with their initials and family name. The medals are presented at presentation ceremonies held on 26 January across Australia, to coincide with International Customs Day and Australia Day.

Australian Customs Service Annual Report 2000-01
Australian Customs Service, CustomsNEWS, no. 54, December 2000.

Sept 2001

Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the US, Customs exchanges operational intelligence on terrorism and potential terrorist-related matters with a number of Commonwealth and State agencies, as well as overseas counterparts. A counter-terrorism awareness package is delivered to all operational staff, highlighting the role Customs plays in the fight against terrorism.

Australian Customs Service Annual Report 2001-02
The New York skyline, 11 September 2001
The New York skyline, 11 September 2001 Source: Wikimedia Commons
Bali Ground Zero Memorial
Bali Ground Zero Memorial Source: Wikimedia Commons

Oct 2002

Customs officers assist in processing injured and other passengers returning to Australia after the Bali bombings.

Australian Customs Service Annual Report 2001-02

26 November 2002

The first Container Examination Facility providing the capability to x-ray shipping containers is opened by Prime Minister John Howard in Melbourne. Shipping containers are picked up from the wharf and transported to the CEF via an ACBPS-managed road transport service, and the container can be scanned while still on the truck to enable effective and efficient examination. The facility provides an improved ability to detect prohibited goods, including illicit drugs, illegal firearms and other harmful goods, and assists

www.customs.gov.au
Prime Minister John Howard with Customs staff at the opening of the Melbourne CEF.
Prime Minister John Howard with Customs staff at the opening of the Melbourne CEF. Source: Customs Collection
CMR Project Graphic
CMR Project Graphic Source: ANAO Audit Report No.24 2006–07

2004

A significant milestone is reached as part of the Customs Cargo Management Re-engineering (CMR) project, designed to improve business practices in line with amendments to the Customs Act under International Trade Modernisation Legislation. Various exports components of the Integrated Cargo System are turned on in August and September to enable export transactions to go live from 6 October.

www.customs.gov.au

October 2004

The behind-the-scenes documentary television programme, Border Security, begins production. Produced in conjunction with Channel 7, the programme demonstrates the work of Australia’s Immigration, Quarantine and ACS officers to show the skill, insight and remarkable stories that come with protecting Australia’s borders.

Border Security goes on to air in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Macau. Similar shows based on the Australian format also air in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Poland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

www.customs.gov.au
Border Security
Border Security Source: Customs Collection
The Border Protection Command Logo
The Border Protection Command Logo Source: Customs Collection

2005

Border Protection Command is established as the leader and coordinator of Australian maritime security operations. The multi-agency authority is situated in ACBPS and staffed by officers from ACBPS, the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Annual Report 2012-13
www.customs.gov.au

12 October 2005

As the culmination of the major Cargo Management Re-engineering project, the multi-million dollar Integrated Cargo System (ICS) is introduced. For the first time, import and export processing and risk assessment for cargo is integrated into one system to electronically report the legitimate movement of goods across Australia's borders. In its early days, a number of problems are encountered with ICS, as the system struggles to cope with the volume of transactions. Despite these setbacks, officers work hard to ensure cargo continues to move across our borders. Once initial issues are resolved, Australia arguably has the most sophisticated cargo clearance system in the world at the time.

www.customs.gov.au
Container undergoing screening
Container undergoing screening Source: Customs Collection
Illegal foreign fishing vessel under tow
Illegal foreign fishing vessel under tow Source: Customs Collection

November 2005

Customs assumes responsibility for receiving, processing and medically clearing apprehended foreign fishers prior to their transfer to Immigration detention facilities. In the 2005-2006 financial year, Customs and Navy apprehended 367 illegal foreign fishing vessels, an increase of 164 over 2004-05 and 233 over 2003-04.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Annual Report 2005-06
www.customs.gov.au

2007

ACV Triton commences operations out of Darwin. Built in the UK in 2000, the 98-metre diesel-electric powered vessel is one of the largest motorised trimarans in the world. It has a top speed of 20 knots and is capable of operating at sea for extended periods. The ACV Triton is a large armed patrol and response vessel that significantly enhances ACS’s ability to patrol and enforce Australia’s northern fisheries

www.customs.gov.au
ACV <em>Triton</em> on patrol in northern waters, May 2007
ACV Triton on patrol in northern waters, May 2007 Source: Customs Collection
SmartGates in operation
SmartGates in operation Source: Customs Collection

August 2007

The Australian Customs Service introduces the first SmartGates at Brisbane International Airport. The new technology gives eligible travellers the option to self-process through passport control.

SmartGate streamlines passenger processing by using ePassport data and face recognition technology to conduct checks usually administered by a Customs officer. This new technology improves the efficiency of passenger processing and simplifies the procedure for travellers.

Following the successful implementation of this technology, SmartGate begins rolling out across the country and in New Zealand. In early 2014, SmartGate is expanded to citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, with trials underway with Singapore and Switzerland.

www.customs.gov.au

4 December 2008

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd presents Australia’s first National Security Statement to Federal Parliament, outlining initiatives to improve national security policy advice, coordination and governance. A key element of the reform agenda in building a more secure Australia, the Statement sets out the Australian Government’s strategic direction on national security.

The establishment of the National Security Statement also leads to a name change for the Australian Customs Service, to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, and changes in the nature of our core responsibilities.

First National Security Statement to the Australian Parliament, The Australian Journal of Emergency Management, Vol. 24 No. 1, February 2009.
An officer undertakes surveillance on board a Customs vessel
An officer undertakes surveillance on board a Customs vessel Source: Customs Collection
ACBPS uniformed officer
ACBPS uniformed officer Source: Customs Collection

22 May 2009

The Australian Customs Service formally becomes the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, following the passage of the Customs Legislation Amendment (Name Change) Act 2009. The Service takes a lead role in maritime people smuggling and interception of SIEVs.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Annual Report 2009-10
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2010s

2010s

SIEV 221, Christmas Island, 2010
SIEV 221, Christmas Island, 2010 Source: Customs Collection

December 2010

On 15 December 2010, a vessel now known as SIEV 221 foundered on rocks, near Flying Fish Cove, Christmas Island, resulting in a significant search and rescue event and loss of life. As part of a coordinated response by ACBPS and our partner agencies, our officers assisted in rescuing 42 people from the vessel and in recovering 30 deceased persons. As a result of the incident, three Indonesian men were charged with aggravated people smuggling.

www.customs.gov.au

December 2011

A new National Detector Dog Training Facility opens in Melbourne, providing a world-class centre to breed, train and deploy detector dogs for Customs and Border Protection and domestic and international agencies. The facility centralises the management of our Detector Dog Programme, which is recognised around the world as a leader in producing and maintaining high-quality detector dog teams.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Annual Report 2011-12
Customs Detector Dog
Customs Detector Dog Source: Customs Collection
Minister Clare (centre) at the keel-laying ceremony in 2012
Minister Clare (centre) at the keel-laying ceremony in 2012 Source: Customs Collection

June 2012

Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Jason Clare MP attends a keel-laying ceremony for the first of the Cape Class patrol boats, the Cape St George. Members of the Marine Unit were involved in the initial capability definition, the initial design review and each stage of the design process, contributing significantly to the functionality of design.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Annual Report 2011-12

2012-2013

The first of several Customs officers is arrested as a result of a major two year joint investigation involving the AFP, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. This difficult event in our organisation’s history spawned a number of important reform activities which have cemented the integrity and professionalism of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

The Customs Reform Board is established by the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, the Hon Jason Clare. The board is, in part, a response to the integrity challenges facing the Service, but also plays a broader role in modernising the Service and in driving cultural change.

Operation Heritage - a joint investigation of alleged corrupt conduct among officers of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service at Sydney International Airport (Interim Report) - is released in response to a series of integrity and corruption issues within the Service, having run covertly for several years.

Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, Operation Heritage—a joint investigation of alleged corrupt conduct among officers of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service at Sydney International Airport (Interim Report), February 2013.
www.customs.gov.au
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Source: Customs Collection
Minister Scott Morrison and Lieutenant General Angus Campbell launch Operation Sovereign Borders
Minister Scott Morrison and Lieutenant General Angus Campbell launch Operation Sovereign Borders Source: Customs Collection

Mid-2013

Border Protection Command is a multi-agency taskforce established to co-ordinate national awareness and response efforts to protect Australia’s civil maritime interests on behalf of other government agencies. In mid-2013, Border Protection Command encounters an unprecedented increase in operational tempo in relation to illegal maritime arrivals, with approximately one vessel arriving every 15 hours during peak periods.

Operation Sovereign Borders is launched in September 2013 following the election of the Abbott government in the same month. The Joint Agency Task Force brings together 16 different agencies under the command of Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, and is established to co-ordinate a whole-of-government response to illegal maritime arrivals: the government’s commitment to ‘stop the boats’. This follows several tragedies between 2009 and 2012—SIEV 36, SIEV 221 and two maritime incidents in 2012—and subsequent reviews.

www.customs.gov.au

July 2013

The Service’s Blueprint for Reform 2013–2018—the transformation vision to meet challenges of the future with an Intelligence-led, automated, enforcement focus—is released.

The Blueprint shares with our people, strategic partners and the community our vision for the future: To protect Australia’s borders and foster lawful trade and travel. It describes our Service within the border environment and sets out the reasons we need to change.

The Blueprint provides a clear picture of the future and the areas we intend to focus on in the near term to achieve our vision.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service 2013, Blueprint for Reform 2013–18, Reform Programme, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Canberra.
The launch of the Service’s <em>Blueprint for Reform</em>
The launch of the Service’s Blueprint for Reform Source: Customs Collection
Minister Jason Clare (left) and John Brumby announce the establishment of the Anti-Dumping Commission
Minister Jason Clare (left) and John Brumby announce the establishment of the Anti-Dumping Commission Source: Customs Collection

July 2013

The Anti-Dumping Commission is established as a Division within the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service to ensure the efficient and effective operation of the anti-dumping system as a critical component of Australia’s free trade system.

This marks a major milestone in a suite of reforms to the anti-dumping system initiated by the Government in 2011, and supported by six tranches of anti-dumping reform legislation.

www.customs.gov.au

September 2013

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service moves into the new Immigration and Border Protection portfolio and under the auspices of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (from the Attorney-General’s portfolio).

www.customs.gov.au
DCEO Roman Quaedvlieg, Minister Scott Morrison and CEO Michael Pezzullo
DCEO Roman Quaedvlieg, Minister Scott Morrison and CEO Michael Pezzullo Source: Customs Collection
VADM David Johnson, Lt Gen Angus Campbell, CEO Michael Pezzullo, DIBP Secretary Martin Bowles, RADM Michael Noonan, AFP Commissioner Tony Negus
VADM David Johnson, Lt Gen Angus Campbell, CEO Michael Pezzullo, DIBP Secretary Martin Bowles, RADM Michael Noonan, AFP Commissioner Tony Negus Source: Customs Collection

February 2014

In 2014, the inaugural CEO Awards take place at Australian Parliament House, attended by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Honourable Scott Morrison, and guest speaker Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG. The awards recognise 89 officers for their efforts across five categories: Bravery, Conspicuous Conduct, Excellence, Innovation, and Health and Safety.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, CustomsNEWS [online], 73rd edition, 19 February 2014.

March 2014

On 27 March 2014, the Anti-Dumping Commission officially transfers from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service to the Department of Industry.

www.customs.gov.au
Anti-Dumping Commission
Anti-Dumping Commission Source: www.adcommission.gov.au
Minister Morrison speaking at the Lowy Institute
Minister Morrison speaking at the Lowy Institute Source: Customs Collection

May 2014

On Friday 9 May 2014, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon. Scott Morrison, announces sweeping changes to the border protection arrangements in Australia through the consolidation of frontline immigration and customs functions into a single operational organisation - the Australian Border Force - within the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. This will result from the consolidation of the department with the existing Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. This builds on the Service’s reform programme.

www.customs.gov.au

July 2014

As a first step towards reorganising and improving our Command and Control systems, Regional Commands are stood up across the country to enable operational resources to be linked across the nation and more effectively targeted and deployed. Each Regional Command is responsible for coordinating the deployment of Border Force officers in specified geographical areas to achieve the Service’s strategic outcomes.

www.customs.gov.au
ACBPS Regional Commands
ACBPS Regional Commands Source: Customs Collection
National Border Targeting Centre
National Border Targeting Centre Source: Customs Collection

July 2014

An interim National Border Targeting Centre co-locating nine law enforcement and national security partner agencies is established, and the Service moves to a Strategic Border Command model to strengthen our approach to directing and coordinating operational activity and performance.

www.customs.gov.au

1 July 2015

The Australian Border Force is established, and will become responsible for all customs and immigration border operations across two primary functions: Border Control, and Investigations, Compliance and Enforcement.

It will draw together the operational border, investigations, compliance, detention and enforcement functions of the two agencies—the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Policy, regulatory and corporate roles will be integrated within the broader department.

The first Commissioner of the Australian Border Force will lead the ‘force’ from 1 July 2015. The Commissioner will have the same standing as other heads of key law enforcement and national security agencies such as the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Chief of Defence Force and Director General of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation.

www.customs.gov.au
Australian Border Force badge
Australian Border Force badge Source: Customs Collection
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