PRIME Minister
Kevin Rudd says the package of measures would strengthen international and
domestic aviation security against emerging threats. This would
include the latest body scanners, the next generation of multi-view x-ray
machines, and bottle scanners which could detect liquid-based explosives.

“The Christmas
Day attempt showed that no nation can afford to be complacent when it comes to
security,” Mr Rudd said. “The government’s highest priority is the safety and
security of Australians.

“Body scanners
will be introduced progressively as an additional screening measure at
screening points servicing international departing passengers by early 2011.”

Mr Rudd
acknowledged the public would have two key concerns with the body screening
technology, including privacy issues and the potential impact on processing
times.

“We’ve got to
make a judgement here. An incident has occurred in the United States.

“You learn
practical things from it, you get the best advice, you respond.

“We will be
working with (industry), the airlines and the airports, to make sure that we
minimise disruption to the travelling public.”

Mr Rudd said
every reasonable measure must be taken to underpin the security of travellers
at airports.

“It would be
irresponsible of us … not to take these actions,” he said.

The Government
will spend $17.7 million to increase the number of firearm and
explosive-detection dogs at major airports by 50 per cent. Another $12.3
million will go towards maintaining the presence of Australian Federal Police
officers at big airports. It will provide $18.2 million to boost security
co-operation in the Asia-Pacific region for international flights.

Another $24.9
million will go to boosting intelligence sharing between Customs and law
enforcement agencies and improving technology to enable passengers to be
cleared faster.

Mr Rudd said $32
million would be set aside for additional screening at regional airports used
by large aircraft. There will also be more stringent training standards for
screening staff.