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                    [post_content] => 

Andrew Hudson

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton used his opening address at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIPB) Industry Summit on Monday morning (31 July 2017) to assure those in the private supply chain and their clients that the current work agenda would be maintained under the proposed Home Affairs department.

Along with the Acting Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF), Minister Dutton reiterated that the ABF would continue in its traditional ‘Customs’ role and the ABF, as part of the DIBP, would also continue its vital engagement with industry and development of trade facilitation measures to assist in the legitimate trade in goods and movement in people.

At the time of the announcement of the creation of the new Department of Home Affairs (DHA), the focus of the commentary was on national and border security issues with no comment on the traditional ‘Customs’ role of the ABF or its ongoing engagement with industry and the facilitation of international trade at the border.

Naturally, there were some concerns that the failure to address these important roles could mean that the importance of those roles was being downgraded and that momentum on various initiatives here and overseas could be lost with an increased focus on security and intervention in trade.

Both speakers made the point that the involvement of the ABF with the DHA would allow the ABF to have access to additional information at an earlier stage than is presently the case, which would actually enhance the ability of the ABF to carry out its roles. These outcomes were all consistent with the theme of the industry summit being “Border Innovation: strengthening our nation’s economy, security and society.”

In terms of the work of the DIBP and the ABF in the engagement with industry in relation to the movement of goods, there was reference to recent achievements and future commitments with such initiatives as:
  • The creation of a ‘single window’ for trade such as in Singapore and New Zealand.
  • The expansion of the Australian Trusted Trader Program (ATTP).
  • The recent completion of four Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) with other customs services for those in the ATTP.
  • The promise of more MRA with customs services in other trading partners.
  • The development and implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) to improve the use of those current and future FTAs by the adoption of robust Rules of Origin, enhanced border clearance facilitation.
  • The increased use of more advance technology and reporting systems.
There were similar references to commitments in the migration space as relating to the movement of persons. The comments provide a degree of assurance to industry that the current work agenda would be maintained and developed and that the engagement with industry remained a priority. While the reference to the achievements and initiative represents only a reiteration of those developments currently known to industry, their clear support from the Federal Government filled in a gap in the story that arose with the announcements relating to the DHA. Industry looks forward to continued engagement on these projects and its ongoing collaborative work with government, whether the DIBP, the ABF or other agencies that have a role at the border. Andrew Hudson is Partner with Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Litigation Team, specialising in all areas of trade including international trade conventions, dispute resolution and arbitration, trade financing options, commodity and freight contracts as well as dealing with regulation of the movement of goods at the border by all Government agencies. He is also a member of many of the consultative bodies established by Government in the trade space, including the National Committee on Trade Facilitation convened by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the International Trade Remedies Forum convened by the Anti - Dumping Commission (ADC) as well as associated sub-committees. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Export Council of Australia (ECA) and the Food and Beverage Importers Association (FBIA) and works closely with other industry associations representing those in the supply chain. [post_title] => When all things change, Customs stays the same [post_excerpt] => Minister Dutton has assured those in the supply chain that the current work agenda would be maintained under the Home Affairs department. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => things-change-customs-stays [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-02 14:36:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-02 04:36:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27743 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26578 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-03-20 17:55:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-20 06:55:36 [post_content] =>   DIBP Secretary Michael Pezzullo. Pic: YouTube.     Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) Secretary Michael Pezzullo has faced a barrage of questions at a public hearing over the $257 million fit-out of his department’s new Canberran headquarters. The department currently leases more than 100,000sqm of office space spread across 12 buildings and four suburbs in Canberra and leases are due to end progressively between 2017 and 2020. The aim is to consolidate staff across five buildings and two suburbs, while also reducing the amount of office space leased by 14,600sqm. The reorganisation was sparked by the July 2015 integration of the Department of Immigration and Customs and the need to quickly mount sensitive joint operations securely. Mr Pezzullo faced The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works today (Monday) after senators questioned the project’s quarter of a billion dollar tab. Many of the toughest questions came from senators asked him to justify relocating 2,000 staff to an office building at Molonglo Drive, near Canberra Airport. The plan also includes retaining about 4,000 staff across three locations in Belconnen to avoid a negative impact on local businesses if there was a wholesale move out of the suburb. But Labor Senator Alex Gallacher said he did not understand the department’s fascination with the Molonglo Drive site.   “You’re paying the maximum rate that you would pay for a lease in Canberra, in an area where the building is eight years old and there is allegedly somewhere between a 20 per cent and 40 per cent occupancy rate. In a less tightly held area, why do you pay the top rate?” But Mr Pezzullo defended the Headquarters Project which the department has said will save $236 million over 30 years, mostly through cutting the amount of office space leased, competitive procurement processes and more efficient whole of life costs. “The Commissioner and I don’t drive around Canberra saying “well that would be a nice place to live in or work in or whatever,” Mr Pezzullo said. “It’s not about its attraction. It’s what came through the process as representing the best fit for the operational requirements ... the best value for money in terms of what the market had come back with in terms of fit-out costs and lease incentives and through the tender evaluation process. Its superiority relative to other market bids that had come back.” He said there was “a massive net benefit to the Commonwealth” but this would have been even larger had the department been allowed to consolidate even more aggressively.” The Department’s First Assistant Secretary of Corporate Services, Ben Wright, told the inquiry: “They gave us a good deal. It’s not just the rent rate, it’s also the lease incentive provided. They provided a rebate as well. “When you take all that into consideration on a per square metre basis, it actually works out quite attractive.” Mr Wright said the department had looked at sites in Civic, Airport, Belconnen and Lowden but the airport building was the best value for money and tender bid. The department said in its submission to the inquiry that the modern, purpose-built fit-out would enable it to co-locate and integrate staff, particularly those involved with border monitoring and control operations. It would be flexible enough to quickly establish task forces and sensitive joint operations and operate them continuously and securely. “The proposed new office accommodation will be of modern design with large efficient floor plates to support future flexibility and provide an open office environment to promote collaboration and positive cultural renewal which has been highlighted as being a critical success factor for the Department’s accommodation objective,” the department’s submission said.   Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter. [post_title] => Pezzullo grilled over $250 million Immigration reno [post_excerpt] => Canberra Airport site questioned. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => pezzullo-grilled-250-million-department-immigration-office-fit [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-21 10:52:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-20 23:52:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26578 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26122 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-01-31 16:14:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-01-31 05:14:55 [post_content] => Bob Katter calling for a ban on people from the Middle East and North Africa from entering Australia. Pic: Facebook.     Australian politicians are falling over themselves to claim credit for US President Donald Trump’s immigration and travel ban on people from seven Muslim countries, saying they suggested it first. Federal MP Bob Katter – not known for his reticence in blowing his own trumpet – has become the latest Australian politician to say that he had the idea ages ago. Mr Katter claims Trump must have heard his ‘cooee for a ban on Middle Eastern peoples from entering the country’ all the way from his Innisfail office and obviously decided to act on it. “Mr Katter didn’t expect the American President to take action before the Australian Government,” exclaimed the press release from the MP’s office. “Trump is the most powerful man on the planet and the American people have made their decision. No more!  “These people stay at home. If Saudi Arabia and Dubai won’t take them - why should Australia?”   The outspoken Independent MP, whose grandfather was Lebanese, called for a ban on anyone travelling or immigrating to Australian from the Middle East or North Africa in August last year, after an Algerian-French backpacker murdered two British backpackers at backpacker’s hostel Home Hill, Queensland. “The time has come now to stop people from those countries coming to Australia. And if that is an extremist position, is it an extremist position for Saudi Arabia and Dubai; they won’t let any of those people in,” Mr Katter told Sky News last year. “There comes a point where I’m worried about Australians, not worried about people over there,” he said. Mr Katter issued a press release today (Tuesday) saying he would keep campaigning for a similar ban to be introduced in Australia. “We’ve been screaming for this, particularly since the attempted mass murder that took place in my backyard at Home Hill last year. “As I’ve said on the public record many times, it is imperative the people from countries between Greece to India and in North Africa are barred from entering Australia.  “There is an incident of this nature by people of Middle East origin intercepted far too regularly in Australia.” Mr Katter said he would exempt persecuted Jews, Sikhs and Christians from his edict and also leave out Muslims who lived outside the Middle East, in countries such as Indonesia. Treasurer and former Immigration Minister Scott Morrison entered the debate yesterday when he told radio host Ray Hadley that Trump and the rest of the world was “catching up” with Australia’s tough guy immigration stance which he said was “the envy of the world”. “I remember when we came in in 2013 and I was implementing our border protection policy people threw their hands up – and I said I’m doing what I said I would do in the way I said I’d do it – and guess what, I’m now getting the results I said I’d get,” Morrison told Hadley. “The rest of the world would love to have our borders and the way they are secured and the immigration arrangements we have put in place, particularly most recently, over the last three or four years.” Meanwhile, on Twitter,  One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson praised the Trump travel ban but said it didn’t go far enough. She tweeted that Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia should also be included.   Citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are all on Trump’s banned list. [post_title] => Kater to Trump:  Hey, you nicked our Muslim ban [post_excerpt] => Bob Katter next to claim credit. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => australian-pollies-tell-trump-hey-nicked-muslim-ban [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-03 09:56:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-02 22:56:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26122 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25262 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-10-12 12:17:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-12 01:17:00 [post_content] => abf3_opt     The Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) intervention between the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and the major public sector union on a new pay agreement is likely to benefit the union, says a labour law academic. The Commission ruled last week that the two parties, the DIBP and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), had 21 days to come up with a solution or its Full Bench would wade into the fray and decide the outcome of the prolonged, tense dispute over pay, working rights and conditions. The ruling came after the government applied for a temporary suspension of protected industrial action (PIA) at airports, ports and cargo terminals. Instead, the Commission terminated PIA on October 6, triggering supervised negotiations and possible arbitration. If an agreement cannot be reached by October 26, talks can continue for a further 21 days but both parties would have to apply for this extension to make it happen. An agreement within the timeframe appears unlikely. The two parties do not even agree on the content of enterprise bargaining agreement that is on the table. While the Department insists the latest pay offer is between 6.4 per cent and 10.7 per cent for “the majority of staff” the Union has argued that some workers will receive a 4.7 per cent pay rise and end up with less than 1 per cent per year (if this figure is taken from 2014, the start of the dispute). Professor Ron McCallum, Emeritus Professor in the Faculty of Law of the University of Sydney, said that the threat of arbitration was a victory for the union and something the federal government would probably be unhappy about. “The Union will do much better [under arbitration] than they were likely to do in bargaining and I think the government is on the back foot,” Professor McCallum said. “The federal government’s two per cent [pay offer] and the amalgamating of people to create Border Force means there are all sorts of people coming from different wage areas and they all need to be realigned.” He said the government had not handled the bargaining process very well adding, “They don’t want to be caught up in an arbitration but they obviously weren’t flexible in their bargaining.” In July 2015, the border control functions of the DIBP and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs) were merged into one agency: Australian Border Force, which comes within the DIBP. It appears that the Union will be the more confident party if arbitration goes ahead. The government pushed to suspend protected industrial action until November 21 and go to a third ballot, while the union wanted to stop strike action and go to arbitration. But Sydney Law School’s Associate Professor Shae McCrystal said that both sides would be taking a gamble if the decision went to arbitration and this would influence their negotiating position. “The arbitration is hanging over the heads of the parties,” Dr McCrystal said. “Whether or not you’re going to see movement comes down to whether or not the parties [think they] will get what they want at arbitration. “It’s a gamble that the Commission will see the claims the same way that each particular party does in the light of the factors that they have to look at.” She said both sides would be posturing during “live negotiation” but they could well be making concessions behind the scenes. The Commission will consider various factors before it reaches its final verdict including: the public interest, the impact on productivity, the stance each side has taken and the conduct of bargaining representatives. As each arbitration is determined on its own merits, the outcomes of earlier arbitrations are not directly relevant to the dispute. They don’t provide an indication of how the decision will play out. Despite Immigration Secretary Mike Pezzullo’s warnings to staff that the process could drag on for 18 months Professor McCallum believed the Commission will want to expedite the verdict. “I think the Commission will be pretty determined to get rid of these things. They have been in the past. Once it goes to arbitration it will put in a timetable for the parties to give evidence. I would have thought that this will be by the 30th of June next year," he said. Whatever the verdict, the Commission’s decision will be a strong signal to the union and the government about what to expect should other Commonwealth departments go to arbitration, including on the contentious issue of back pay. There are still around 100,000 federal public sector workers without an agreement after three years, including staff at the behemoth Department of Human Services, the Taxation Office, Defence, the Bureau of Meteorology, Agriculture and Water Resources and Prime Minister and Cabinet. Dr McCrystal said she did not think the union would need to push for arbitration if the DIBP result was favourable to them. Likewise, the government could attempt to force arbitration if they were happy with the verdict, for example, by locking out staff, as Qantas did in 2011. DIBP workers went on strike for 24 hours in August having rejected pay offers in March 2016 and September 2015 by significant margins. [post_title] => Fair Work arbitration on public sector pay likely to benefit union, says academic [post_excerpt] => Clock ticking on immigration negotiations. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fair-work-arbitration-public-sector-pay-likely-benefit-union-says-academic [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-14 11:27:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-14 00:27:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25262 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25043 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-09-16 14:47:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-16 04:47:30 [post_content] =>   arrivals-departures-sign_opt The major public service union has promised to ramp up strike action in a series of “multiple short strikes” at Australia’s airports and ports, in an attempt to break the deadlock in the dispute over pay and conditions for thousands of Commonwealth public servants. Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) Secretary Nadine Flood promised “an unprecedented escalation” of strike action marked by “extensive rolling stoppages” in the final week of September with union members in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) taking 30-minute strikes “all day, every day.” The union said it was taking strike action to force Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Public Sector Minister Michaelia Cash to give ground in the long-running conflict over enterprise bargaining agreements that remain unsigned after three years for about 100,000 public servants, including departmental behemoths like Human Services. The strike action by CPSU members in the DIBP will affect international airports, cruise ship terminals, cargo facilities and other areas of the Department, beginning on Monday September 26 and lasting until Sunday October 2 with the threat of further industrial action if the dispute is unresolved. Flood said: “Based on previous experience this strike action has the potential to cause more significant disruption and delays for international air passengers and others but it’s important to emphasise that our members don’t take industrial action to inconvenience the public. They do it because it’s one of the only tools they’ve got to fight for a fair deal.” Meanwhile, the Department denounced the strikes and said it was “disappointed” the industrial action came in the same week that the union will sit down with departmental representatives in an attempt to thrash out a new agreement. “This proposed strike action flies in the face of this bargaining process and represents an unreasonable and unwarranted escalation at a time the Department is looking to find consensus,” said a departmental spokesperson. “It is unfortunate that the CPSU is taking this action, fully aware that it will cause potential disruption and delay to the public.” The spokesperson said that the rolling strikes would “create unreasonable levels of disruption and uncertainty across critical functions” carried out by the department. But the likelihood of the talks being successful is slim. The two sides cannot even agree on the size of the pay rise on the table and how many workers will get it. The union says some DIBP workers will endure cuts to their current take home pay and argues that some workers will receive a 4.7 per cent pay rise and end up with less than 1 per cent per year (if this figure is taken from 2014, the start of the dispute). Meanwhile, the Department insists the latest pay offer is between 6.4 per cent and 10.7 per cent and that this takes in “the majority of staff.” The union is not hopeful an agreement will be reached. Flood said:  “There are no real negotiations, just agencies being ordered to follow the government's whacky bargaining policy while the minister refuses to discuss sensible changes that would fix this mess … it's a vicious, nasty approach.” DIBP workers went on strike for 24 hours in August having rejected pay offers in March 2016 and September 2015. The union will hope the strikes cause the government enough pain to relent and do a deal. The Public Service Commission disparaged public sector strikes earlier this month, which included Human Services, the Tax Office and the Department of the Environment and Energy, calling them “a flop” and alleging that few workers had taken part and the disruption to services was minimal. While some union members from the DIBP were involved the department was not the focus of the strike. The union argued that the strikes had been misrepresented and downplayed by the government. [post_title] => Airport strikes will intensify, says union [post_excerpt] => Immigration expects “unreasonable disruption.” [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 25043 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-20 11:07:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-20 01:07:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25043 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25036 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-09-16 10:36:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-16 00:36:16 [post_content] =>  pauline-hanson-maiden-speech-again_opt-1 Pauline Hanson is back, and has three senators with her. AAP/Mick Tsikas     By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra Twenty years after her inflammatory maiden speech claiming Australia was in danger of being swamped by Asians, Pauline Hanson has told the Senate that “now we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims who bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own”. In her second “first speech”, this time as a new senator and leader of a party of four that has a slice of the balance of power, Hanson launched an attack on her current target, saying further Muslim immigration should be stopped and the burqa banned. No more mosques or Islamic schools should be allowed to be built, she said. “Islam cannot have a significant presence in Australia if we are to live in an open, secular and cohesive society. Never before in Australia’s history have we seen civil unrest and terror associated with a so-called religion, or from followers of that faith,” she said. “We have seen the destruction that it is causing around the world. If we do not make changes now, there will be no hope in the future. Have no doubt that we will be living under sharia law and treated as second-class citizens with second-class rights if we keep heading down the path with the attitude, ‘she’ll be right, mate’.” Hanson said changes were occurring in predominantly Muslim suburbs. “Tolerance towards other Australians is no longer the case. Our law courts are disrespected and prisons have become breeding grounds for Muslims to radicalise inmates.” “Muslims are imprisoned at almost three times the average rate. The rate of unemployed and public dependency is two to three times greater than the national average. Muslims are prominent in organised crime, with associated violence and drug dealing,” she said. “Anti-social behaviour is rampant, fuelled by hyper-masculine and misogynist culture. Multiple social surveys find that neighbourhoods of Muslim settlement are suffering from collapsing social cohesion and fear of crime. Australians, in general, are more fearful.” She said despite the radicalisation that was happening, “our leaders continue to tell us to be tolerant and embrace the good Muslims. But how should we tell the difference? There is no sign saying ‘good Muslim’ or ‘bad Muslim’. How many lives will be lost or destroyed trying to determine who is good and who is bad?” Hanson said Australia had a national identity before federation, which was all about belonging and nothing to do with diversity. “Tolerance has to be shown by those who come to this country for a new way of life. If you are not prepared to become Australian and give this country your undivided loyalty, obey our laws and respect our culture and way of life, then I suggest you go back to where you came from. If it would be any help, I will take you to the airport and wave you goodbye with sincere best wishes.” Hanson attacked immigration in general, saying high immigration only benefited the multinationals, banks and big business. She said ordinary Australians suffered from a “massive” intake of 190,000 a year. “I call for a halt to further immigration and for government to first look after our aged, the sick and the helpless,” she said. “Clean up your own backyard before flooding our country with more people who are going to be a drain on our society.” She also lashed out at Chinese and other foreign investment. “Any foreign ownership is regrettable, but why are we allowing the Chinese government, an oppressive communist regime, to own our land and assets?” Clearly relishing the potential power she holds second time around, Hanson remembered calling out on her last day in the House of Representatives, “I will be back” – to which those around her cried out, “No, you won’t.” “So, to all my peers in this place and those from the past, I have two words for you: I’m back – but not alone.” To pass legislation that is opposed by Labor and the Greens, the government requires nine of the 11 non-Green crossbenchers, meaning it will need votes from the Hansonites. Greens senators walked out during Hanson’s speech. This story first appeared in The Conversation. [post_title] => Pauline Hanson 20 years on: same refrain, new target [post_excerpt] => Hanson's second 'maiden' speech. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => pauline-hanson-20-years-refrain-new-target [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-19 12:03:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-19 02:03:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25036 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24936 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-09-07 15:30:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-07 05:30:16 [post_content] =>  Border protection strike_opt Antagonism between the major public sector union and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has reached critical levels on the eve of widespread public service strikes. The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) said that the Department’s latest proposed enterprise agreement “sunk to a new low” by retaining cuts to working rights, conditions and allowances and reducing the pay increase offered from 6 per cent to 4.7 per cent over three years. But the Department has hit back, insisting that its latest pay offer is between 6.4 per cent and 10.7 per cent for “the majority of staff.” The DIBP’s 13,500 staff have been waiting for a pay rise since 2013 but the public sector enterprise bargaining agreement process has dragged on for them - and many others - with a promise there will be no back pay. In March this year, union members resoundingly rejected the Department’s offer of 6 per cent over three years, with 81 per cent of votes cast saying ‘no’. An earlier offer in September 2015 of 3.4 per cent over three years (one of the lowest in the Australian Public Service) was rebuffed by 91 per cent of staff who voted. Discontentment has been bubbling up within the ranks of the DIBP for a while. CPSU members staged a 24-hour strike on Friday August 12, which included the country’s international airports, and the union has promised “more action” in the months to come. Union National Secretary Nadine Flood said the recently tabled offer had “achieved the near impossible by further stoking the anger of staff” and aggravated an already tense situation. “This offer is worse for thousands of staff than the one they overwhelmingly rejected six months ago, still stripping away the rights and conditions of all staff while cutting take-home pay for some,” Flood said. “CPSU supports pay parity but not at the expense of some staff still facing actual cuts to their current take-home pay while others will get just 4.7 per cent total from 2014 to 2019, or less than 1 per cent per year.” Employment Minister Michaelia Cash recently underlined that the government will not alter its stance; the latest enterprise agreement proposed by the DIBP is likely to be another red rag to union members. It appears there will be some come back for the government. Flood said: “Our members are now planning to get the government's attention, following up on August’s 24-hour strike at international airports and other sites.” A spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said that the pay offer was a combination of general pay rises applying to all employees and increases to top of range salary rates for all classification levels to address parity concerns raised by staff [Immigration and Customs were merged in 2015]. The spokesperson said “Overall, the offer delivers an average of 6 per cent across the Department” and the Department would continue to protect take home pay through ‘grand-parenting’ of allowances, as proposed in the last offer. The Department has said that voting on the enterprise agreement would be as soon as possible with further meetings scheduled next week. This week’s strike includes a handful of DIBP staff who are union members, including some from the Australian Border Force, who will take part in a three-hour stoppage.   The twenty-four hour strike on Friday mostly involves other departments including Medicare, Centrelink, Child Support, the Tax Office, Defence, Agriculture and Water Resources and Prime Minister and Cabinet and will begin from midnight tomorrow (Thursday) and last until midnight on Friday September 9. [post_title] => Union and Immigration at loggerheads on eve of public service strike [post_excerpt] => Pay cut or pay rise? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => union-immigration-loggerheads-eve-public-service-strike [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-08 13:56:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-08 03:56:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24936 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24738 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-08-17 12:13:37 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-17 02:13:37 [post_content] =>     Airport shot_opt   Further cuts to jobs at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) could imperil Australia’s border security and slow visa processing, as more than 300 jobs vanish. The government confirmed earlier this week that it would reduce its staffing cap by 305, down from 13,750 public servants, partly by targeting middle managers with voluntary redundancies. The remainder of cuts will be found through a hiring freeze as staff who leave are not replaced. The move comes as the DIBP attempts to plug the gap left by a $116 million cut to its budget in this financial year alone. But the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) said the department could cull as many as 800 jobs, which it said made a mockery of the government’s continued reiteration of the importance of border security. CPSU Deputy National President Rupert Evans said the staffing cuts were “short-sighted” and would undermine the DIBP. “It would be bad enough if the department was having to do the same work with fewer staff, but the situation is far worse,” Evans said. “The Government’s budget cuts are forcing DIBP to sack workers as the workload continues to grow rapidly.” He said there were already ‘well over’ 1,000 fewer staff in the DIBP than there were four years ago. “In the same period the number of international passengers has grown by 3.6 million, there’s an extra 2.8 million visas being processed, half a million more pieces of cargo to be inspected and more than nine million more pieces of international mail and parcels to be checked and terrorism risks have risen.” Evans said the cuts would “further undermine staff morale”, particularly because they came during the bitter and protracted dispute over working rights, conditions and pay which has left around 75 per cent of Commonwealth public sector workers without a new enterprise bargaining agreement, some of them for three years. Union members from the DIBP held a 24-hour strike last Friday at international airports, ports and offices to protest at the lack of progress in negotiations and the announcement of staff cuts is only likely to deepen the distrust between workers and government. Meanwhile, the CPSU is hauling federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash in front of the Fair Work Commission, accusing her of not bargaining in good faith during the dispute. CPSU National President Alistair Waters said Cash was the mouthpiece for the Turnbull Government’s “harsh and unworkable” stance during public sector bargaining. “Minister Cash hasn’t just refused to meet with the CPSU, she has also publicly misrepresented our position on numerous occasions and otherwise tried to undermine our attempts to help her fix the Turnbull Government’s bargaining mess,” Waters said. “Our members have shown a willingness to compromise but Minister Cash’s responses have been consistently toxic and unfair.” More to follow. [post_title] => Hundreds of jobs go at Immigration and Border Protection [post_excerpt] => Security and visas could be affected. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hundreds-jobs-go-immigration-border-protection [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-02 15:52:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-02 05:52:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24738 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24378 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-07-11 13:06:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-11 03:06:41 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24381" align="alignnone" width="300"]Laval, Сanada - September 23, 2015: Drone Flying At Sunset over an onions field. The drone is a Yuneec Typhoon Q500+ equipped with a 4k camera. Airborne interception. Pic: iStock[/caption]   Criminals using drones, quadcoptors and other unmanned aerial systems to avoid detection by police and law enforcement will soon find their new toys hijacked to provide evidence against them if an ASX-listed technology developer and exported gets its way. As prison authorities, drug agencies and police try to get to grips with criminals and gangs flying everything from drugs and weapons over prison walls, ominously named company Department 13 (D13) has launched a new “Drone Intelligence and Forensic Service” it says will give prison, border control and drug enforcement authorities a critical upper hand. The plummeting price and increased sophistication of ‘off-the-shelf’ drones has created a huge new challenge for authorities when they fall into the wrong hands. One of the biggest problems is that remotely operated small aircraft, by their very nature, create an invaluable distance between their illegal operators and authorities, thus allowing arm’s length delivery of illicit goods or an early warning for when cops are approaching or about to pounce. Amateur drones, which often fly outside of aviation regulatory boundaries, have also become a growing nuisance at events with tight security like political rallies, major sporting events and festivals. While authorities can obviously just whack drones out of the sky, Department 13 reckons it’s the sophisticated electronics inside their software that can give law enforcement a far more valuable window into who’s using the technology and what they’re up to – without resorting to ballistics or jammers that can blow an operation’s cover. [caption id="attachment_24385" align="alignleft" width="300"] Low barrier to entry. Pic: Zully3P[/caption] “It’s critical that we understand the complete lifecycle of how adversaries fulfil their illicit missions using drones. Until we understand all of the available data about drones used for these illicit purposes we will be at a distinct disadvantage to our criminal adversaries,” said Department 13 chief executive Jonathan Hunter. Known as MESMER, the system uses snooping and surveillance software that Department 13 says “provides automated detection and finessed mitigation strategies that can be selected to function autonomously or with a man in the loop.” Put more simply that means drone sniffers can be actively monitored by people or left for days at a time to detect, record and drone activity. Government News understands that extends to covertly grabbing a feed from a drone’s camera, Of course, it would be nicer if you could, after gathering enough evidence, just take the drone over and safely bring it back to you or down in a safe place. After all, with UAV and autonomous vehicle ‘takeover’ now all the rage in the military –call it digital hijacking – why shouldn’t law enforcement authorities also get a slice of the action? Department 13’s official release seems to obscure that potent capability a little, referring to a “response stage” that’s based “on a technique that we call, protocol manipulation.” But it’s similarly understood that the remote take-over capability for drones is well advanced and being developed to deal with multiple targets or ‘swarms’ at once. A post from D13’s founder and CTO, Robi Sen, on the company’s website pulls fewer punches. In an examination of how lithium batteries that power drones can catch fire both in mid-air or on crash landing, Sen points out that just bringing down drones in an uncontrolled manner is a potentially deadly risk in itself – especially in urban areas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRutyaxmdrs “Department 13 staff when assisting law enforcement in performing forensics on drones always [insists] on storing crashed or recovered drone’s batteries in protective and fire proof containers to prevent accidents and injury, Sen says. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwXpYLHyNf4   “It is also why we designed our Mesmer platform to maintain positive control of target drones to avoid creating hazardous situations that result from crashed drones.” Mind you, the Dutch National Police also have an eagle eye on drone control via interception, but using an avian solution. They’re training majestic eagles to swoop, capture and return target drones as part of a trial. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HifO-ebmE1s   [post_title] => Drone hijackings on police radar [post_excerpt] => Over the air apprehension. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => drone-hijackings-police-radar [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-15 09:10:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-14 23:10:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24378 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 23274 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-03-07 15:46:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-07 04:46:08 [post_content] => IMG_1952   Immigration and Border Protection staff (DIBP) have emphatically rejected the government’s latest offer, with 81 per cent voting against it as they prepare for a 24-hour Easter strike at ports and airports. The ballot, which closed at midnight (Sunday), saw 11,201 people or 81.2 per cent of the department, casting a vote on the government’s offer of a 6 per cent pay rise over three years coupled with winding back some rights and conditions. DIBP staff rejected an earlier agreement in September last year, when 91 per cent voted against the government made a low-ball offer of 3.4 per cent over three years, one of the lowest in the Australian Public Service. The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has underlined that customs officers who moved over to Border Force under the painful merger of Customs and Immigration would suffer most because they would lose allowances and entitlements. The vote will further galvanise plans for a 24-hour strike on Easter Thursday, including at international airports, potentially causing disruption to Easter travel for thousands of people. There is also the possibility of a three-week campaign of rolling stoppages starting just after Easter, from Tuesday March 27. Public servants will also stop work in other departments and agencies in protest at the drawn out bargaining sector process, including Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Bureau of Meteorology and Defence. Most agreements elapsed mid-2014. CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “An 81 per cent ‘no’ vote from the Immigration and Border Protection workers who keep Australia safe is another stinging rebuke of the Government’s unworkable and unreasonable approach to public sector bargaining. “This strong ‘no’ vote is no surprise, given the dodgy agreement that DIBP management had put on the table. These workers are ordinary mums and dads, yet they still face losing rights and conditions that allow them to balance long and irregular hours with their family commitments, and some still face having their take-home pay cut.” Defence public servants narrowly turned down their agreement last week, with 50. 91 per cent voting it down. Human Services staff rejected their agreement in February with an 80 by per cent ‘no’ vote. Australian Bureau of Statistics interviewers vote on their enterprise agreement this week. “This result shows how deeply dissatisfied these workers remain and why they’re preparing to continue their campaign of strike action over Easter to pressure the Government to engage meaningfully on changing the bargaining policy to allow fair and reasonable outcomes,” Ms Flood said. She said it was not too late for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull or Public Sector Minister Michaelia Cash to put a stop to the strikes, if they offered staff “fair and reasonable agreements that safeguard rights and conditions while offering a reasonable pay offer of around 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent.” [post_title] => It won’t fly: Immigration and Border staff reject pay offer [post_excerpt] => Easter airport strikes imminent. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => example-post [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-03-08 10:28:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-03-07 23:28:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=23274 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 21970 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-10-30 10:10:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-29 23:10:22 [post_content] => Sydney Airport   A take-home pay cut of $8000 a year for former Customs staff instigated by the former Abbott government has provoked a national 24 hour strike across Australia’s international airports next week. The powerful Community and Public Sector Union has warned the action will hit airports from 9th November. The action comes as the union tries to jolt security agency Border Force to reverse its position on workplace changes it says duds employees. It is understood the action will hit passport checks and freight screening, however exempted national security functions will continue as normal. The revelation of more strife at Department of Immigration and Border Protection comes after CPSU gave official notification it will increase the length of legally authorised rolling strikes from 2 hours to a full day in an attempt to jolt the federal government into dumping the pay cuts. The escalating industrial row at Border Force has become a pivotal battleground for the CPSU in its wider battle over public service wages and conditions and is increasingly being regarded as major tactical blunder by former PM Tony Abbott, ex-Employment Minister Senator Eric Abetz and surviving Immigration minister Peter Dutton. The highly divisive pay deal foisted on Border Force staff – which stems from the administrative merger of the Department of Immigration and former Australian Customs Service – means frontline staff at the latter stand to lose thousands of dollars a year in take-home after previously held conditions and entitlements were removed. But as the Coalition regains its popular mojo, there is understood to be growing frustration in parts of the government that the Border Force pay issue has been allowed to fester. The main irritation is that the dispute helps bolster union claims of a wider agenda to force down public sector pay remove conditions as part of a return to the supposedly junked ‘Work Choices’ industrial reforms while also generating major distraction from mainstream enterprise negotiations. The latest airport strikes follow an attempt by the Turnbull government to reach a compromise with the CPSU this month in the long running pay row after government finally lifted its pay offer – which is still largely just at or below inflation – from an unviable 1.5 per cent to 2.0 per cent over three years. That compromise has resulted in significant movement at the margins from the main public service union. The CPSU this week released results from its member survey that indicate public servants may be willing to settle for a pay increase of between 2.5 per cent and 3 per cent as long as they are able to retain key employment conditions, particularly surrounding leave and working hours. The removal of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister and his Employment Minister Senator Eric Abetz has also provided the catalyst for a negotiating reset, with substantial bad blood flushed away with political careers. The industrial situation at Border Force – where the pay cuts stem from shift in award coverage from agency mergers rather than routine enterprise bargaining – is a long way from the APS bargaining middle ground in terms of the negative impact on staff and is increasingly looking like a free kick for the CPSU. Accident prone Immigration Minister Peter Dutton remains under substantial pressure from some parts of the Coalition to neutralise the situation and remove a major tactical advantage for the CPSU and Labor generally. A major concern is that the Border Force dispute has provided the CPSU with plenty of ammunition to lay down covering fire for highly disruptive airport strikes that would otherwise be a public relations disaster. The National Secretary of the CPSU, Nadine Flood wasted no time in ramming home the message that the government’s ambitious hard line actions at Border Force could widen unless firmly checked at the gate. "We have made the decision to restart significant industrial action, given that discussions with [the] Government have not produced any meaningful move on cuts to these workers' rights, conditions and take-home pay," Ms Flood said. "Last month 91 per cent of Border Protection staff   that's more than 10,000 people   voted No to an unfair agreement that cut the take-home pay of many staff by $8,000 a year or more and stripped rights for all employees." Ms Flood said the CPSU anticipated that Border Force’s executive would “continue their expensive and heavy-handed tactic of flying managers around the country to act as strike breakers” and labelled such moves as a divisive tactic that would do nothing to achieve a resolution. The extent of the removal of conditions and take home pay losses at Border Force makes the latest 2 per cent offer from the government largely academic according to the CPSU’s chief. “[Public Service] Minister Michaelia Cash's decision to raise the pay offer cap to 2 per cent doesn't compensate for losing a raft of rights and conditions,” Ms Flood said. “Not fixing the $8,000 pay cuts Government is still pushing to slash from the take-home pay of officers working to keep our borders safe just makes their offer ridiculous.’ "I'm willing to get on a plane anywhere, any time to sit down with Government and resolve this dispute," Ms Flood said. Government News has contacted the Department if Immigration and Border Protection for comment on the strikes. [post_title] => CPSU hits Australian airports with 24-hour strikes [post_excerpt] => Industrial action escalates action over Border Force pay cut. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cpsu-hits-australian-airports-with-24-hour-strikes [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-10-30 10:10:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-29 23:10:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=21970 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 21199 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2015-08-31 15:09:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-08-31 05:09:24 [post_content] => ABF Australian Border Force officials fear the federal government has made them  political pawns and targets for violence in the wake of public hysteria surrounding a planned stop and search visa operation in Melbourne last weekend, says the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU). The aborted and widely reported Operation Fortitude exercise in Melbourne has attracted criticism from many quarters. The protestors who took to the streets led to the operation being cancelled, and recriminations continue over who was responsible for what is widely seen to be a major error of judgement by the newly created Australian Border Force (ABF). It may also add to simmering tensions between staff and management within the ABF. The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), the union representing ABF workers, issued a statement welcoming the news that Operation Fortitude was cancelled, and criticising the Government for ‘politicising’ ABF staff. “The union has been contacted by ABF members who raised concerns their safety would have been compromised by the publicity surrounding this operation,” said CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood. “Some members are deeply concerned about the way their work has been politicised, raising safety concerns about the public reaction. “While the ABF, as the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, has been involved in these types of operations before, they have never been publicised in this way. Our members were deeply concerned at the suggestion they would be stopping all people on the street, which is not how their work has been done in the past.” The ABF only came into being on 1 July 2015, formed from the merger of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the enforcement areas of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The words ‘border protection’ were added to the name of the Australian Customs Service by the Rudd Labor Government in 2009, and to the Department of Immigration by the Abbott Coalition Government in 2013. ABF head Roman Quaedvlieg has subsequently said that the original Operation Fortitude press release which warned that ABF officers would stop people at random (“anyone who crosses our path”) was “clumsily worded” and only “cleared at a low level in the organisation.” Prior knowledge of the intended operation has been denied by the Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton, despite the press release twice being sent to his office before the planned operation. “ABF staff do important work stopping drug importation and targeting organised crime and terrorism,” said Flood. “Making them a public target through this sort of hysteria is completely unacceptable. “This high-profile approach has come as a major shock for ABF staff. Their work is challenging under most circumstances but this adds another and unnecessary layer of difficulty to an already taxing task. We are calling on the Federal Government to stop cynically exploiting the work of the Australian Border Force for its own political ends, potentially putting these officers at risk.” There is no suggestion of industrial action over the matter but it is unlikely to improve relations between management and staff unhappy at the ABF being turned into a paramilitary organisation. The union says ABF staff are frequently instructed not to wear their uniforms in public due to safety concerns. The CPSU has called ABF staff out on strike once already in the two months since it was formed. In early August industrial action over pay and conditions caused disruption at airports around Australia. The creation of a military style Border Force, with black uniforms and armed officers, has been criticised by civil libertarians, the Australian Greens, and many others. “It is inconsistent with democratic principles to establish an armed border paramilitary agency subject to political whim and lacking effective independent oversight,” says the Council of Civil Liberties. The legislation establishing the ABF was passed in May 2015 with the support of the Labor Opposition. [post_title] => Border Force union criticises ‘politicisation’ of staff [post_excerpt] => CPSU unhappy with Operation Fortitude [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => border-force-union-criticises-politicisation-of-staff [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-09-04 09:37:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-09-03 23:37:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=21199 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 20818 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-07-30 10:36:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-30 00:36:08 [post_content] => BNE Departure Board   Airports across Australia are bracing for long  delays on Monday 3rd August after the nation’s main public service union warned members at key agencies including Immigration and Border Protection will again walk-off the job amid an escalating industrial row with the Abbott government. The authorised rolling four hour strikes by the Community and Public Sector Union will hit international airports for the second time in just over a month as the fallout from stalled negotiations spreads across key government transport infrastructure. The show of force by the CPSU comes as the union continues to accuse the government of trying to deliberately force down take-home pay for many public servants, especially those who were formerly with Customs, by around $8000 a year by removing longstanding allowances and entitlements. The intensity of staff anger over pay and conditions – which are now in bargaining – stands in sharp relief to the prominent role the new Australian Border Force and Immigration authorities have in applying the government’s  get tough policies on people arriving in or near Australia illegally. The CPSU is once again capitalising on the high standing which the Abbott government places on frontline staff. “Public sector workers on our borders undertake important, difficult and sometimes dangerous jobs on behalf of our community. They deserve better than the Abbott Government’s attack on their rights, conditions and take home pay.” However the union stressed that any of its members “who have essential national security, counter-terrorism and specialist biosecurity hazard roles in DIBP and the Department of Agriculture will be exempt from taking action.” Meanwhile, the CPSU has also mounted a massive leafleting campaign, distributing more than a million flyers at key public contact points to spread its message. There is also understood to be growing disquiet and unease in part of the Coalition over the government’s tactical approach to public service pay bargaining now that the row has dragged on for more than a year with the biggest agencies still holding out. A major frustration is that an opportunity to deplete union ranks of members through apathy, attrition by striking low wage growth deals has been squandered by more ambitious bids to dial back enterprise agreement deal to as close to zero as possible. One risk for the government is that efforts to play hardball and string-out talks could backfire if Australia’s stubbornly low economic growth and inflation rate pick up. A major part of the justification for many of the offers now on the table has been that inflation has and will remain low and that bigger pay increases cannot be justified. Employment and Public Service Minister Senator Eric Abetz remains a key target for the CPSU who are now labelling him as a major irritant in negotiations. Ms Flood said the more Mr Abetz talked about excessive pay claims  “the angrier these workers get.” “They are facing massive cuts to their current pay packets but the Minister won't even meet and discuss this dispute with their union,” Ms Flood said. However Senator Abetz said that it was counterproductive for the CPSU  to organise industrial action "in support of its claim for a 12 per cent pay rise which is utterly unrealistic and would cost the jobs of 10,000 public servants.” "The Public Service and the Australian people understand the difficult financial circumstances that we face as a nation and therefore the offers that are on the table are reasonable in all the circumstances," Senator Abetz said. "We are in a very low inflationary environment and I'd encourage the CPSU to take a more responsible stance.” [post_title] => Australian airports to be hit by mass strikes Monday [post_excerpt] => Immigration and Border Protection to walk off job. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => australian-airports-to-be-hit-by-mass-strikes-monday [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-07-30 21:51:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-30 11:51:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=20818 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 20359 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-06-29 21:11:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-06-29 11:11:24 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_20360" align="alignnone" width="300"]493a9a3b-f14f-4c50-bf9a-8ceb50f7ee2b-450x310 Pic: Border Protection Command[/caption]   Happy financial new year? Not likely if you’re travelling mid-week. Major disruption at international airports is primed to mar the official ‘standing up’ of Australia’s latest public sector mega-merger, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and its new frontline operational border agency, the Australian Border Force, on its very first day. Unionised staff at the new entity are continuing their preparations to go on strike on Wednesday 1st July as the Community and Public Sector Union ramps-up protected action across the public service to try and force the Abbott government’s hand pushing through deeply unpopular cuts to conditions and entitlements in many agencies. The union has warned that international airports to be affected by the two hour strikes include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. The confirmation of the latest industrial action comes despite a last minute back down by the government to provide assurances to Customs staff transitioning into Immigration and Border Protection that they will not be immediately left out of pocket to the tune of thousands of dollars a year because of the consolidation through changes to entitlements, allowances and conditions. “The Secretary of the Department issued a determination under section 24 of the Public Service Act 1999 on Friday that will provide transition payments and provisions equivalent to most current allowances from the 1st of July for Customs Officers who currently receive them,” the CPSU said in a bulletin to members. “The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister has also issued a section 24 (3) determination preserving all Marine Unit conditions of employment post 1 July and until a new Departmental Enterprise Agreement is reached.” The continuation of the allowances until a new enterprise agreement is reached is a tactical victory for the CPSU which has managed to galvanise substantial new support within Customs to preserve longstanding conditions. “This immediately prevents Customs Officers from losing thousands of dollars in take home pay from 1 July. The Department and Government has held this over staff for months. This Determination makes a huge difference to members who were facing enormous financial hardship from 1 July,” the CPSU told its members. “Make no mistake, by standing together, joining our union in huge numbers and participating actively in industrial action, CPSU members in DIBP and ACBPS have achieved a significant win. But it’s only a temporary stay of execution,” the union said. The latest strike action is a serious headache for the government on two fronts. Firstly, the walk-off by those charged with defending the integrity of Australia’s borders comes at a time when government members are seeking to get maximum political mileage from border protection issues. Secondly, unlike previous lower impact CPSU action, the disruption at airports and sea ports is certain to register in the minds of affected travellers and businesses keen to avoid any industrial brawl at the nation’s entry and exit points. The CPSU’s National Secretary, Nadine Flood, wasn’t making any apologies for the disruptions saying striking staff were some of the worst affected under enterprise offers that had been resoundingly rejected. “Customs and Immigration officers are being hit particularly hard by the Abbott Government's bargaining policy which forces their agency to cut many of the allowances they rely on to make up their pay packet, Ms Flood said,” “Thousands of officers face losing $5000 to $8000 a year; while small groups of highly specialised officers stand to lose even more take home pay. We have Border Protection workers desperately worried about how they’ll pay their bills and that is appalling. “These men and women literally put their lives on the line to keep Australia safe." The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service is standing by its original advice to customers and travellers. Deputy chief executive for Border Operations, Michael Outram, said this month that arrangements were place “to protect Australia's borders and minimise the impact on business operations.” "While there will be some delays in services, we anticipate that contingency measures in place will keep interruptions to a minimum. The Portfolio regrets any inconvenience this industrial action may cause the public and industry," Mr Outram said. "During protected industrial action, the health and safety of our people and the protection of the border continue to be our priority." [post_title] => Strikes hit merged Immigration and Border Protection on first day [post_excerpt] => Unhappy financial new year. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => strikes-hit-merged-immigration-and-border-protection-on-first-day [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-06-29 23:06:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-06-29 13:06:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=20359 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27743 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-02 14:33:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-02 04:33:30 [post_content] => Andrew Hudson The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton used his opening address at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIPB) Industry Summit on Monday morning (31 July 2017) to assure those in the private supply chain and their clients that the current work agenda would be maintained under the proposed Home Affairs department. Along with the Acting Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF), Minister Dutton reiterated that the ABF would continue in its traditional ‘Customs’ role and the ABF, as part of the DIBP, would also continue its vital engagement with industry and development of trade facilitation measures to assist in the legitimate trade in goods and movement in people. At the time of the announcement of the creation of the new Department of Home Affairs (DHA), the focus of the commentary was on national and border security issues with no comment on the traditional ‘Customs’ role of the ABF or its ongoing engagement with industry and the facilitation of international trade at the border. Naturally, there were some concerns that the failure to address these important roles could mean that the importance of those roles was being downgraded and that momentum on various initiatives here and overseas could be lost with an increased focus on security and intervention in trade. Both speakers made the point that the involvement of the ABF with the DHA would allow the ABF to have access to additional information at an earlier stage than is presently the case, which would actually enhance the ability of the ABF to carry out its roles. These outcomes were all consistent with the theme of the industry summit being “Border Innovation: strengthening our nation’s economy, security and society.” In terms of the work of the DIBP and the ABF in the engagement with industry in relation to the movement of goods, there was reference to recent achievements and future commitments with such initiatives as:
  • The creation of a ‘single window’ for trade such as in Singapore and New Zealand.
  • The expansion of the Australian Trusted Trader Program (ATTP).
  • The recent completion of four Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) with other customs services for those in the ATTP.
  • The promise of more MRA with customs services in other trading partners.
  • The development and implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) to improve the use of those current and future FTAs by the adoption of robust Rules of Origin, enhanced border clearance facilitation.
  • The increased use of more advance technology and reporting systems.
There were similar references to commitments in the migration space as relating to the movement of persons. The comments provide a degree of assurance to industry that the current work agenda would be maintained and developed and that the engagement with industry remained a priority. While the reference to the achievements and initiative represents only a reiteration of those developments currently known to industry, their clear support from the Federal Government filled in a gap in the story that arose with the announcements relating to the DHA. Industry looks forward to continued engagement on these projects and its ongoing collaborative work with government, whether the DIBP, the ABF or other agencies that have a role at the border. Andrew Hudson is Partner with Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Litigation Team, specialising in all areas of trade including international trade conventions, dispute resolution and arbitration, trade financing options, commodity and freight contracts as well as dealing with regulation of the movement of goods at the border by all Government agencies. He is also a member of many of the consultative bodies established by Government in the trade space, including the National Committee on Trade Facilitation convened by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the International Trade Remedies Forum convened by the Anti - Dumping Commission (ADC) as well as associated sub-committees. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Export Council of Australia (ECA) and the Food and Beverage Importers Association (FBIA) and works closely with other industry associations representing those in the supply chain. [post_title] => When all things change, Customs stays the same [post_excerpt] => Minister Dutton has assured those in the supply chain that the current work agenda would be maintained under the Home Affairs department. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => things-change-customs-stays [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-02 14:36:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-02 04:36:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27743 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 20 [max_num_pages] => 2 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 8f420cea64ddd0c41bc0c169ba26c50b [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

immigration

immigration