Senate debates

Wednesday, 14 June 2017


Hobart International Airport

3:43 pm

Photo of Anne UrquhartAnne Urquhart (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

At the request of Senators Bilyk and Brown today, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that the Government cut all 27 Australian Federal Police (AFP) staff from Hobart International Airport in the 2014-15 Budget, leaving Hobart as the only capital city airport in Australia without an AFP presence;

(b) further notes that the Government in the 2017-18 Budget locked in a $184 million funding cut to the AFP over the forward estimates, and formalised the reduction of 150 staff in the upcoming year alone – no funding was provided for the restoration of staff in Hobart;

(c) acknowledges that concerns have previously been raised by the Tasmanian Government, Tasmania Police, and the Police Union about the withdrawal of the AFP in Hobart and that Tasmania Police want the presence restored; and

(d) calls on the Government to explain why it believes that Hobart International Airport is the only capital city airport in Australia which does not require an AFP presence, explain the factual basis for its decision to withdraw those police, and outline the steps that it is taking to ensure safety and security at Hobart International Airport is not compromised.

3:44 pm

Photo of Eric AbetzEric Abetz (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Stephen ParryStephen Parry (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Eric AbetzEric Abetz (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the Senate. AFP resources were withdrawn from Hobart airport in 2014 following a review by the relevant department, not a budget cut as falsely asserted in the motion. This mirrors the decision in 2011 to withdraw the AFP's presence from Alice Springs Airport, which occurred under Labor.

Our national security situation is under constant review and assessment. If the risk profiles change, security settings will change accordingly. The Tasmanian Liberal Senate team has continually monitored the need for an AFP presence with the minister's office. Just last week the AFP advised the government that the risk profile for Hobart has, thankfully, not changed. The AFP is an operational agency and deploys their resources depending on the threat assessment. The government has full confidence in the AFP's assessment.

Question agreed to.