Australia to conduct random checks on workers at airports

SYDNEY • Australia will introduce random searches of workers entering its airports and those inside as it increases security after a recent foiled terrorism plot.

"These measures strengthen existing controls to ensure airport workers are authorised, properly identified and appropriately trained before entering secure airside areas," said Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester in a statement yesterday.

"They may also be subject to security screening in the course of their duties."

Airport security was tightened in July after the police foiled "Islamic-inspired" plans for a bomb attack on an Emirates flight from Sydney.

The police said they arrested four men in citywide raids on July 28 after one of them had allegedly tried to bring an improvised explosive device onto a flight days earlier. The device was not allowed on board as it exceeded the baggage weight limit.

Extra screening of hand and checked luggage since the incident has led to some travel delays around the country.

"Some of the measures will be obvious to the public, some will not be," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said at the time.

Airport security was tightened in July after the police foiled "Islamic-inspired" plans for a bomb attack on an Emirates flight from Sydney.

The Council of Australian Governments earlier this month signed off on a facial biometric agreement to give state and federal police real-time access to passport, visa, citizenship and driver's licence images for criminal investigations, including those involving suspected terrorists.

The Prime Minister denied that the agreement was "Big Brother"- style mass surveillance, but said it was the "logical next step".

"The alternative is to not use the data at all," Mr Turnbull told the ABC's AM programme.

Mr Chester's office did not respond yesterday when asked when the latest measures would take effect, but said that they would be rolled out to "provide flexibility for airports to ensure (they) continue to function efficiently and effectively".

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2017, with the headline 'Australia to conduct random checks on workers at airports'. Print Edition | Subscribe