PNG Customs and the Australian Border Force (AFB) will work together over the next twelve months on key joint priorities that are aimed at strengthening the security at the PNG-Australia sea border.
Customs Chief Commissioner Ray Paul made this known following the conclusion of a Customs bilateral meeting in Port Moresby in November that was attended by senior officials from both Customs administrations.
He said this cooperation will include collaborating to support regional intelligence gathering, detecting and seizing illicit tobacco and improving both Customs administrations’ ability to respond to regional threats.
The Chief Commissioner stated that PNG Customs and the ABF enjoy a very strong bilateral relationship and the meeting allowed both administrations to discuss a range of issues that were critical to our shared border.
He said during the last 12 months there have been a large number of deployments of officers on twinning programs in both PNG and Australia from both agencies. The officers deployed have shared their expertise and knowledge, and worked to develop relationships to bring both agencies closer together.
ABF Acting Commissioner Michael Outram offered a number of improvements to assist PNG Customs Service’s capabilities for APEC with ongoing challenges at the common Border which included three small vessels previously in service with the ABF and a new x-ray scanner with service arrangements.
He said PNG and Australia enjoyed a unique position in terms of the shared border in the Torres Strait and that proximity allows for many benefits to accrue, including a strong trade relationship and regular legitimate movement of people.
The Acting Commissioner added that besides the benefits, there were also risks to both countries that must be managed by strong border security policies. He said the new capabilities for PNG Customs and the ongoing bilateral engagements and joint operations will assist in managing these threats and risks and secure both countries’ joint borders into the future.