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CPS Systems secures $59 million to secure Australia’s borders

by Paris Cowan •
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Border control specialist CPS Systems, owned by SITA, has won a $59 million contract from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to upgrade, host and manage the systems used to communicate incoming passenger details to the travel authority.

The deal will forge a “strategic partnership” between CPS Systems and DIAC that will see the vendor replace and manage Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) and Advanced Passenger Processing (APP) solutions on the Department’s behalf.

A spokesperson for DIAC told Intermediumthat CPS Systems had been engaged to provide “a fully managed service covering the operation of the APP and ETA” which it had assessed to offer better value for money than its current arrangements.

The deal also “formalises a strategic partnership between the Department and CPS Systems” that will allow DIAC to “keep abreast of emerging trends internally and across other across other countries, as well as to take advantage of anticipated developments” he said.

The ETA system authorises entry into the country for low-risk passengers, usually via the online booking systems of around 300,000 travel agents and 87 airlines globally. The ETA means that tourists and short-stay business travellers from eligible countries don’t have to go through the rigmarole of gaining a hardcopy visa before entering the country.

The APP system is used by airlines and cruise operators to send visa and identification details of onboard passengers through to the Department prior to landing in Australia. It is up to travel operators to make sure that all passengers entering Australia have valid passports and travel permissions, and they can by fined by the Australian Government for failing in these obligations.

DIAC approached the market in September 2012 to gauge what the market could offer to enhance its ETA and APP capabilities, in the realisation that increasing rates of travel to and from Australia will soon push its ageing systems to breaking point.

Tender documents reveal that DIAC anticipates ETA class applications for entry into Australia will increase by 1.5 per cent each year for the next ten years, reaching 2.5 million annually by 2020. The number of passenger notifications received through the APP will increase by around 5 per cent each year.

The September request for expressions of interest demanded that any replacement solution would “meet or exceed the requirements and functions of the existing systems”. The current ETA solution has been in use since 1996.

It is the second major deal to be inked between DIAC and CPS.

In 2006 the vendor signed two deals (here & here) with DIAC worth a combined $40 million to enhance the CEKAL system. CEKAL is a platform operated by DIAC in conjunction with the Indonesian Directorate General of Immigration which enables the Indonesian authorities to cross-reference and check the names of visa applicants.

CPS Systems was acquired by border management solutions vendor SITA in October 2008. Intermedium’s Analyse IT contracts database shows that SITA has done work for the Department of Defence and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service as well as DIAC in the past.

View DIAC profile in GovFacts >>>

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  • Federal
  • IT Services
  • Border Security
  • APP/ETA systems
  • CPS Systems
  • Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)
  • SITA