13.9 C
Byron Shire
April 18, 2021

ANAO says Customs missing most contraband

Latest News

Midwife quits

Deb Walsh, Fernleigh It’s become untenable for me to continue working in hospitals. I have quit. I will be deregistered soon...

Other News

Mullum’s lilac house the subject of Change.org petition

The plight of a Mullum resident has touched the hearts and injustice buttons of people far and wide who feel that a requirement that she repaint her house a heritage colour and possibly pay a fine, not only ridiculous but also petty.

Electricity ‘fun facts’

Anonymous, Ballina I’m surprised that a part of David Lowe’s online article of March 15 slipped under the fact-check radar (‘Tamara Smith...

My own pandemic imaginations

Robert Podhajsky, Ocean Shores Imagination is a powerful mechanism; I must admit I get unsettled with my own pandemic imaginations...

ALP puts war power reform on the agenda

The Australian Labor Party will hold a public inquiry into how Australia goes to war if elected to government next year.

HuskeeSwap launches in Lennox

An exciting initiative to keep coffee cups out of landfill launched in Lennox Head yesterday. Ballina Shire Council is backing the HuskeeSwap program with free coffees at different cafes in Lennox this week, for coffeeholics keen to try a new solution to a growing problem.

Disguised junk mail

A Sinclair, Mullumbimby Does anyone know who is responsible for the thinly disguised bundles of junk mail that are now...

Guns and drugs are slipping through the screening of Australian Customs. (file pic)
Guns and drugs are slipping through the screening of Australian Customs. (file pic)

Up to half a million prohibited items could have evaded Customs mail screening in 2012-13, allowing guns, drugs and quarantine risk items into the community.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) says Customs’ seizure of 67,123 prohibited imports represented around 13 per cent of potential prohibited imports.

In a 2012 report on its own performance, Customs cited the increasing number of successful seizures of contraband and concluded that this demonstrated ‘low level of leakage of a small number of prohibited imports of a minor nature.’

But the ANAO said Customs really didn’t know as it had never calculated its leakage rate – done by sampling cleared mail items.

ANAO did its own calculations and estimated Customs missed 467,893 prohibited items in 2012-13.

‘Customs’ high estimated leakage rate, particularly in unscreened non-letter class mail would suggest that Customs’ screening activities miss a large number of prohibited imports,’ it said.

ANAO acknowledged screening was a challenging job.

In 2012-13, Australia Post reported that around 180 million international mail items arrived in Australia. Over the last five years, parcels have increased 200 per cent with the rise in online shopping.

Most pose no threat but some contain drugs, guns and risky plant or animal products.

International mail arrives at four  Australia Post gateway facilities in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth where it’s screened by Customs and Agriculture visually and by x-ray scanners and sniffer dogs.

Where previously everything was screened, it’s now done according to risk assessment.

Since 2006-07 the number of items screened by Agriculture has reduced by 76 per cent and 45 per cent for Customs. The government provided funding this year to increase the screening rate.

ANAO said Customs described its targeting approach as ‘intelligence-led and risk-based’.

But in practice targeting decisions were often not documented and did not align with risk analysis, providing little assurance that it was adequately and consistently targeting high risk mail groups.

Customs and the Department of Agriculture have agreed to ANAO recommendations to improve screening procedures.

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Common courtesy

Anonymous, Byron Bay First of all, thank you to those customers who did the right thing and wore their masks in hospitality venues on the weekend. However,...

Poor Council drains

Kate Anderson, Mullumbimby In response to and support of Kerry Gray’s and Robin Gracie’s letters Echo 31 March). The McGoughans Lane blocked drains are the tip...

Electricity ‘fun facts’

Anonymous, Ballina I’m surprised that a part of David Lowe’s online article of March 15 slipped under the fact-check radar (‘Tamara Smith Calls for More Fairness’) in...

Coalition ‘hellbent’

Mat Morris, Bangalow The NSW coalition seems to be hellbent on outdoing their federal counterparts when it comes to the denigration of women and protection of...