Automated processing set to improve the traveller experience

Senator Michaelia Cash

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women


Monday, 05 May 2014

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, today welcomed the launch of Australian Customs and Border Protection Service’s (ACBPS) automated departures trial at the 2014 World Customs Organization (WCO) IT Conference and Exhibition.

The trial aims to identify the most effective and streamlined solution to automate the departures process which will eventually allow travellers to self-process through passport control when departing Australia for the very first time.

The trial will be conducted in two stages with a feasibility study testing two eGates in a laboratory environment followed by a live trial at Brisbane International Airport from July 2014.

Minister Cash said the automated departures trial is now well progressed and ACBPS has confirmed that it will be moving ahead with the second phase of the trial. ACBPS is embarking upon a major reform program and the new automated departures trial will help the Service meet the challenge associated with increasing traveller volumes at our international airports.

‘An automated processing solution when departing Australia will provide very similar benefits to those that travellers and officers currently experience in arrivals using SmartGate,’ Minister Cash said.

‘It will also facilitate the effective deployment of Customs and Border Protection officers to more highly skilled activities and provide a more streamlined experience for travellers.

‘Innovation is a key driver for successful customs administrations and the automated departures trial is an important example of Customs and Border Protection’s investment in technology to modernise its systems and processes.’

The Brisbane Airport trial is expected to run for 12 months, and subject to the trial being successful, ACBPS will pursue full implementation of the preferred technology and process at all eight Australian international airports.

Minister Cash also took the opportunity at the WCO IT Conference to announce that SmartGate use will be permanently extended to all eligible US citizens arriving at any one of Australia’s eight major international airports.

In November 2012, Customs and Border Protection began a trial allowing US ePassport holders to use SmartGate when arriving at one of Australia’s eight major international airports.

‘Today, the US will become the third nation to be granted permanent eligibility to use SmartGate, along with New Zealand and the UK,’ Minister Cash said.

‘This is a fantastic, tangible outcome in managing traveller growth across Australia’s eight major international airports. No doubt, travellers into Australia will be pleased to face shorter queues at our airports.’

The automated departures trial will be discussed at the 2014 WCO IT Conference and Exhibition in Brisbane from 5 to 7 May.

The conference provides government and industry with an opportunity to view and discuss current and emerging technologies, and to explore the role of customs administrations and other stakeholders in fostering trade and travel to enhance economic competitiveness.