Funding measures to protect national security and combat serious and organised crime

Nigel Brew
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Although national security remains, not unexpectedly, a major feature of the Budget and is addressed with several new initiatives, it has received less emphasis this year than in previous years.  However, the 2007–08 Budget also sees a number of new operational initiatives targeting serious and organised crime.  These initiatives include new funding to, amongst other things, combat illicit drugs, increase efforts against people smuggling, and enhance the management of criminal intelligence, as well as funding for the continuation of existing programmes, such as those targeting money laundering and fraud.

National security

In January 2007, the Attorney-General declared that Australia had spent ‘more than $8 billion on security-related measures since 2001’.[1]

In the 2007–08 Budget, the Government is providing an additional $702 million over four years to strengthen Australia’s national security—approximately half of last year’s expenditure on national security.[2]

  The Government also claims that in total it has now committed an additional $10.4 billion to national security over the ten years to 2010–11.[3]

  However, according to the Australian Homeland Security Research Centre, expenditure on national security (excluding defence) in the 2007–08 Budget amounts to just $665 million over four years and a total of some $7.6 billion over the ten years to 2010–11.[4] 

According to Government figures, national security funding includes the provision of $73.6 million over four years to a range of agencies for the implementation of a national ‘e-security’ agenda to protect and secure Australia’s online environment.  It also includes a total of $57.2 million over four years to further enhance aviation security, one of the main features of which is the extension of checked baggage screening to 26 regional airports that are serviced by passenger jet aircraft, at a cost of $15.4 million. This funding will provide explosive detection equipment to all 26 airports and X-ray screening to 18 airports. The lack of checked baggage screening at regional airports has long been one of the Opposition’s main criticisms of the Government’s existing aviation security programme.[5]

Other specific national security funding initiatives include:

  • $151.4 million over four years to develop purpose-built police accommodation at Australia’s eleven Counter-Terrorism First Response airports to provide space for office, operational and training facilities and cater for the permanent posting of police and security personnel under the Unified Policing Model
  • $14.5 million over four years to a number of agencies for the development of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Security Strategy, part of a package of counter-terrorism measures adopted by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on 13 April 2007
  • $18.6 million over four years for Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS) (part of the $57.2 million aviation security package) to introduce an accreditation scheme for operators of land transportation (eg: trucking companies) that carry air cargo.  This new scheme will complement the existing Regulated Air Cargo Agent scheme that applies to freight forwarders and cargo terminal operators
  • $5 million over four years for DOTARS (part of the $57.2 million aviation security package) to fund the posting of two senior transport security officers to the US where they will work closely with US aviation security authorities and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
  • $31.7 million over four years for the Australian Customs Service (Customs) to lease a charter vessel to replace the Australian Customs Vessel currently on station at Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve and obtain two high-speed response craft to strengthen Customs surveillance and environmental management of the area
  • $79.5 million over four years for Customs to develop, implement and operate the new Australian Maritime Identification System (AMIS), the aim of which will be to consolidate maritime data currently collected by several different agencies and enable the Border Protection Command to detect and respond to all vessels entering or operating in Australia’s maritime region
  • $23.1 million for Customs to replace the current Passenger Analysis Clearance Evaluation (PACE) system to enhance the ability of Customs to identify international travellers of interest to various agencies, and improve the sharing of information between such agencies
  • $65.2 million over five years to upgrade the Australian Federal Police’s (AFP) operations and intelligence IT systems
  • $4.7 million over four years to create a new AFP team which will manage human sources of intelligence in an effort to increase the collection overseas of intelligence on people smuggling.  A further $9 million over four years has also been provided to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) to enhance its collection of intelligence on people smuggling; and
  • $1 million over four years to conduct police background checks for all staff employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 and to provide security awareness training for those employees with a Top Secret clearance with the aim of improving security in Parliament House.

There is also funding to continue or expand existing programmes, such as the continued operation of the national crisis management Watch Office ($5.5m over four years); the continued operation of the National Security Hotline ($19m over four years); a reinvigorated national security awareness campaign ($20m over two years); an expansion of the counter-terrorism exercise programme ($24.6m over four years); the completion of implementing arrangements under the Anti-Terrorism Act (No. 2) 2005 ($35.7m over four years); the enhancement of aviation security audit and compliance ($21m over four years); the continuation of the secure communications network, Australian Secure Network ($21.2m over four years); and an expansion of the strategy to combat people trafficking ($26.3m over four years).

Agency funding

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s (ASIO) total budget for 2007–08 is $446.984 million (comprising $149.616m in equity injections and $297.368m in departmental appropriations and other revenue).  This represents a total increase of just over $100 million from last year.  ASIO receives $78.8 million over four years to complete refurbishments to ASIO state offices.

Australian Secret Intelligence Service

The budget of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service has increased from a total of $168.234 million in 2006–07 to a total of $179.883 million in 2007–08 (comprising $166.134m in departmental income and other revenue of $13.749m).  This is an increase of $11.6 million.

Australian Federal Police

The Australian Federal Police’s total budget for 2007–08 is $1261.078 million (comprising $90.066m in equity injections and $1171.012m in departmental income).  This compares to a total last year of $1140.305 million, which represents an increase of some $121 million.

Australian Customs Service

The total budget of the Australian Customs Service for 2007–08 is $1326.992 million (comprising $36.609m in equity injections and $1290.383m in departmental income).  This represents an increase from last year of just over $75 million (up from $1251.621m).

Serious and organised crime

There are a number of significant initiatives to receive funding in this year’s Budget which aim to address some growing trends in serious and organised crime. Central to these is the Government’s Combating illicit drugs initiative, under which the AFP, Customs and the Australian Crime Commission share in some $150 million designed to address the problem of amphetamine-type stimulants, and which the Prime Minister claims will strengthen the Government’s ‘zero tolerance approach to illicit drugs’.  A breakdown of this funding was provided by the Prime Minister in his press release of 22 April 2007, as follows:

Table 1—summary of measures to further combat illicit drug use



Funding to 2010–11
($ million)

Strengthening the non-government organisation treatment grants program (designed to increase rehabilitation services)



Amphetamine-Type Stimulants grants program



Strengthening drug prevention education (will supplement existing funding for the national drugs campaign, including the production of education booklets for all households)



Response to the production and distribution of amphetamines and other synthetic drugs

Australian Crime Commission


Enhanced technical capacity



Amphetamine-Type Stimulants enhanced investigative capacity (will fund the creation of a dedicated investigation team based in Sydney)

Australian Federal Police


Expansion of the international liaison officer network (will fund the deployment of one AFP officer to Laos and additional staff for the AFP’s China post)

Australian Federal Police


Expansion of reference spectral libraries, upgrade of spectroscopic detection fleet, and installation of portable fumehoods at container examination facilities (to be used when sampling commercial-sized chemical shipments)

Australian Customs Service


Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (expansion to Darwin and Melbourne of a programme which analyses urine samples and responses to questionnaires from police detainees)

Australian Institute of Criminology





(Table based on the attachment to the Prime Minister’s press release on the issue of 22 April 2007)

Other measures to combat illicit drugs which are funded from within the existing resourcing of the Australian Customs Service include $0.8 million over four years to provide additional training to border security personnel in the detection and analysis of precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of illicit drugs, and $0.7 million over four years to improve drug detection and prevention in the Oceania region. 

Funding for the continuation of existing programmes includes $5.2 million over four years for the AFP to continue with the connection of AFP overseas posts to the AFP’s national computer system; $8.8 million over four years for the AFP to continue joint efforts with overseas law enforcement agencies in disrupting transnational criminal threats and improving the sharing of criminal intelligence; $6 million over four years for the AFP to continue joint efforts with overseas agencies to disrupt the supply of illicit drugs to Australia; and $30.8 million over four years for the Australian Crime Commission to continue targeting money laundering and fraud against the Commonwealth.

Other significant new initiatives include some $13 million for the Australian Crime Commission to enhance the management and sharing of criminal intelligence ($4.3m over four years), and to investigate the involvement of organised crime in the private security industry ($8.7m over two years).


With the exception perhaps of the funding of the new ‘e-security’ agenda and the screening of checked baggage at regional airports, the bulk of this year’s national security budget is largely allocated to structural and administrative enhancements, or enables the continuation of existing programmes.  By comparison, the funding of measures to combat growing trends in serious and organised crime is significant.  Law enforcement agencies (rather than public service departments) appear to benefit the most, suggesting that the funding is specifically designed to boost operational capability.


[1].     The Hon. Philip Ruddock, MP, Attorney-General, Protecting Australia against terrorism, media release 001/2007, 8 January 2007.

[2].     Budget Measures 2007–08, Budget Paper No.2, p. 65.  (Budget Paper No. 2 for the 2006–07 Budget stated (on p. 91) that the Government would ‘provide an additional $1.5 billion over the five years from 2005–06’ to address Australia’s national security).

[3].     ibid.

[4].     A. Yates, National Security Expenditure in the 2007–08 Australian Government Budget, Australian Homeland Security Research Centre, on behalf of Engineers Australia’s Safeguarding Australia programme, 9 May 2007 (10 May 2007).

[5].     See, for example: J. Masanauskas & M. Dunn, ‘Baggage terror fears’, Herald Sun, 19 September 2006; L. McIlveen, ‘Smaller airports targeted’, Daily Telegraph, 4 September 2006, (15 May 2007).