Record num­ber of crim­i­nals stopped from fly­ing to Aus­tralia

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - HARVEY NORMAN - CLAIRE BICKERS

THE num­ber of crim­i­nals, il­le­gal im­mi­grants and sus­pected ter­ror­ists kicked off flights bound for Aus­tralia has sky­rock­eted by 300 per cent.

A whop­ping 555 in­di­vid­u­als were booted off flights in 2017-18, up from the 136 peo­ple “off­loaded” from planes to Aus­tralia the year be­fore.

Some of the pas­sen­gers taken off flights be­cause they posed a “risk to the bor­der” in­cluded in­di­vid­u­als try­ing to en­ter the coun­try il­le­gally to work or live, as well as sus­pected crim­i­nals and oth­ers who were a na­tional se­cu­rity con­cern, The Sun­day Tele­graph un­der­stands.

In most cases, Aus­tralian Bor­der Force of­fi­cials have worked with air- lines such as Qan­tas and Emi­rates to keep th­ese un­de­sir­ables out.

Hun­dreds of other pas­sen­gers with fraud­u­lent doc­u­ments have also been stopped be­fore they could board flights. It’s es­ti­mated tax­pay­ers would have been forced to fork out $15 mil­lion for au­thor­i­ties to de­tain and even­tu­ally de­port the 205 peo­ple with fraud­u­lent doc­u­ments if they hadn’t been stopped from en­ter­ing Aus­tralia.

An­other 4584 trav­ellers were stopped at air­ports and re­fused en­try when they reached Aus­tralia in 2017-18.

The ABF at­tributes the mas­sive in­crease in the num­ber of pas­sen­gers booted off flights to Air­line Li­ai­son Of­fi­cers work­ing more closely with air­lines, re­sult­ing in more aware­ness among air­line staff of po­ten­tial threats. Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Peter Dut­ton said ALOs were “cru­cial” to pro­tect­ing Aus­tralia’s borders.

ABF Strate­gic Bor­der Com­mand As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Erin Dale agreed ALOs played a crit­i­cal role in keep­ing “un­scrupu­lous in­di­vid­u­als” out of Aus­tralia.

ALOs are sta­tioned in 19 air­ports.

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