BACK in May the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, Jason Clare announced proposed changes to maritime security identification cards.
The Attorney-General's Department has clarified the proposal for Big Rigs. A spokesman for the Attorney-General's Department said the changes "stemmed from the need to take immediate action in response to a report by the multi-agency taskforce Operation Polaris".
The taskforce conducted a two year investigation on the waterfront in Sydney and found that known organised criminals or people with strong links to organised crime groups were targeting and exploiting workers on the waterfront and in the supply chain both in the public and private sectors.
The new security measures include some proposed changes to the eligibility criteria for Maritime Security Identification Cards (MSIC) and Aviation Security Identification Cards (ASIC), including:
Conducting criminal intelligence checks that may preclude a person from holding an ASIC or MSIC on the basis of compelling criminal intelligence.
Expanding the list of serious criminal convictions that lead to ineligibility to hold an ASIC or MSIC, and
Strengthening applicant identification requirements within the ASIC/MSIC schemes.
Currently the government is considering how the criminal intelligence background check could be implemented.
One option is at the time of application and renewal for a card or license, with the potential for ongoing checks.
While another option is to conduct ongoing checks during the time after the cards have been issued.
The government has said in their fact sheets on the proposed changes that checks would not take into account suspicions or gossip.
Instead, the document says, it must be significant, relevant and reliable and show a high probability that a person will use their access to secure zones or customs facilities for serious and organised criminal activity.
The introduction of bill to make the changes is expected later this year, with the change to come into effect in 2013.