If you send parcels to Australia regularly, you may remember that the discovery of allegedly corrupt customs officers at Sydney airport led to the arrest of four personnel last year. Australian minister for Justice Jason Clare subsequently set up a customs reform board, which published a report outlining recommendations for improvements to the customs service. The report states that, with air cargo traffic shipments expected to rise from 29 million to a massive 95 million a year by 2017, there is an increasing threat of "serious, organised criminals attempting to infiltrate our border agencies and corrupt our officers".
The government have proposed a number of measures in response comprising, changes to employees' terms and conditions, increased partnership working and better use of technology and electronic information. The proposed strategies so far include:
|Sydney Customs House|
- fixed periods of employment for customs personnel
- a tightening up of the policy relating to second jobs
- working with airlines and forwarders to expedite clearance procedures for trusted and compliant clients
- full electronic data reporting for all Australian imports and exports
- direct access to logistics companies' databases for streamlined shipment and customer profiling.
The announcements by the Australian government coincide with the publication of one of the largest and farthest reaching public opinion surveys into corruption. the According to the survey carried out by Berlin-based watchdog Transparency International, over 50% of people think corruption has worsened in the last two years. Of the 114,000 participants in 107 countries, 27% said they have paid a bribe when accessing public services in the last 12 months.