Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison today announced further expansion of foreign nationals now able to access the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service’s SmartGate automated border processing technology.
Speaking at the Tourism and Transport Forum’s Leadership Summit in Canberra, Minister Morrison confirmed SmartGate was now available on a trial basis to Canadian and Irish ePassport holders at all major Australian international airports.
‘This brings to eight the number of nationalities now able to use SmartGate on a trial or permanent basis. In addition, eligibility trials are expected to commence by the start of next year for ePassport holders from China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Japan.
‘SmartGate technology is currently available as a permanent arrangement to e-Passport holders from Australia, New Zealand, UK, US and Singapore while a trial for Swiss e-Passport holders is still underway.
‘The expansion in SmartGate eligibility follows the government’s announcement in September that next generation automated departures eGates would also be rolled out at each of Australia’s eight major international airports from mid-2015.
‘The deployment of eGate technology is part of the Coalition Government’s $158 million in additional funding for Immigration and Border Protection to boost our counter-terrorism capacity on our borders.
‘The widening of SmartGate eligibility criteria and the roll-out of new eGate technology is further evidence of the Coalition Government’s commitment to improving the travel experience for tens of thousands of arriving and departing passengers each year, as well as enhancing counter-terrorism efforts.
‘As traffic at our international airports continues to grow, it will be become increasingly important to provide a seamless, low-touch experience to ensure the Australian economy reaps the benefit of growing travel and trade across the Asia-Pacific.
‘At the same time, we need to secure our borders against individuals who may pose a threat to the Australian community.
‘This technology makes the border more efficient and also allows our frontline border protection officers to devote more time to focus on traveller interactions, intelligence gathering, enforcement and targeting activity, which are key to preventing threats at the border.
‘Work is also continuing to further extend the range of nationalities able to use SmartGate terminals on arrival at Australia’s eight major international airports, to include Malaysian, Indian and French ePassport holders,’ Minister Morrison said.
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