22 July, 2015
Tip-offs from industry helped stem the flow of drugs, weapons and other prohibited goods into Australia through 2014-15.
Twenty per cent of more than 1200 calls to the former Customs and Border Protection Service produced positive results.
They resulted in more than 200 kilograms of drugs and pre-cursors being seized and kept off the streets.
Referrals from industry to the Customs Watch programme in the last financial year also led to finds of excess currency, tonnes of undeclared tobacco and prevented illegal movement of intellectual property and wildlife smuggling.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton today announced that the highly successful Customs Watch programme would be re-branded as Border Watch under the new Australian Border Force.
He highlighted the vital role that Border Watch plays in detecting illicit goods during a visit to the Australian Border Force (ABF) Container Examination Facility in Sydney.
ABF Container Examination Facilities across Australia have made many significant seizures based on referrals or tip-offs from industry sources through the programme.
“The Border Watch programme (formerly Customs Watch) is a proven method in stemming the flow of prohibited goods across the border,” Mr Dutton said.
“It enables industry to report suspicious behaviors regarding prohibited imports and other suspicious activities at the border and currently has 1500 members.
“The Coalition Government provided additional funding of $88 million to increase screening of international mail, air cargo and sea cargo. This funding is crucial to following-up Border Watch referrals.”
“Australia has one of the largest and most challenging border environments in the world, which is why programmes like this are so important.
“Border Watch will continue to inform intelligence and operational targeting by the Australian Border Force.
“Information provided by our industry partners could be the missing link that leads to another successful Australian Border Force operation.”
“I encourage those who see or hear of suspicious border activities to report it by calling the 1800 06 1800 hotline or the online form at www.border.gov.au/borderwatch.”
Further information: John Wiseman or Merryn Royle – 02 6277 7860