On 4 December 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the renaming of Australian Customs Service and enhancement of the agency's capabilities.
The new name, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, recognizes its important border protection responsibilities, including the new role in ensuring a coordinated response to the resurgent threat to the borders of maritime people smuggling.
The enhanced Australian Customs and Border Protection Service is set to meet the complex border security challenges of the future by providing unified control and direction, and a single point of accountability.
The planning framework aims to bring together all agencies involved in border management in an attempt to ensure consistent and complementary functions. Additional capabilities given to Customs and Border Protection under the new arrangement include analyzing and coordinating the gathering of intelligence, coordinating surveillance and on-water response, and engaging internationally to deter maritime people smugglers.
The transition of capability will involve the transfer of some responsibilities, functions and resources from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service manages the security and integrity of Australia's borders. It works closely with other government and international agencies, in particular the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Department of Defence, to detect and deter unlawful movement of goods and people across the border.
The agency is a national organization employing more than 5500 people in Australia and overseas, with its Central Office in Canberra. It has a fleet of ocean-going patrol vessels and contracts two aerial surveillance providers for civil maritime surveillance and response.
Protecting the Australian community through the interception of illegal drugs and firearms is a high priority and sophisticated techniques are used to target high-risk aircraft, vessels, cargo, postal items and travellers. This includes intelligence analysis, computer-based analysis, detector dogs and various other technologies. Clients of Customs include the Australian community, the Government, industry, travellers and other government agencies.
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