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DIAC spends $20.4 million on border security technology

by David Shi •
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The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has released details of a $20.4 million contract for the ongoing enhancement of the Indonesian-based Enhanced CEKAL System and Passenger Movement System.

The late-published contract reveals previously unseen details about the deal, which commenced back in June 2006 and will continue to run until 30 June 2012.

The contract brings the total value of all DIAC contracts (including those signed under the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs) for the CEKAL system to over $41 million, according to contract notices listed on Austender.

CPS Systems was the contractor in all but two of these cases. Paxus won the remainder for the provision of project management services, with a combined value of $233,000.

Established in 2006 by the Howard Government, CEKAL is a system operated by DIAC in conjunction with the Indonesian Directorate General of Immigration. The system enables the Indonesian authorities to cross-reference and check the names of visa applicants with the intention of preventing people smuggling and illegal immigration.

In August 2008, the then Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Evans, announced a $10 million upgrade to the CEKAL system, labelled the Enhanced CEKAL System.

“We are doing a lot together to improve border security, including thorough forensic document examination training and initiatives to detect people who seek to travel on fake or altered passports,” said Evans in a media release.

“It will enable more reliable detection of people of concern, as well as assist to prevent people-smuggling and irregular migration,” continued Evans.

In addition to tracking illegal immigration, the Enhanced CEKAL system has also boosted capabilities for the detection of persons of interest with possible connections to terrorist organisations, according to the Federal Government’s Counter-Terrorism White Paper 2010. A biometric matching system will also be introduced in Indonesia to work in conjunction with CEKAL.  

CEKAL is one of many bilateral projects being rolled-out by Australia and its regional neighbours aimed at restricting the flow of illegal immigration. According to DIAC’s 2010-11 Annual Report, other bilateral DIAC projects with similar objectives that cover border management, biometric systems, document issuance and document examination training and equipment have been implemented in East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In the 2010-11 Federal Budget, $9.2 million was allocated for the continuation of the Regional Movement Alert System (RMAS), an APEC sponsored anti-terrorism initiative that will enable the automatic verification of passport statuses between participating countries. 

In October 2008, CPS Systems was acquired by SITA and continues to develop and deploy border management solutions in the government sector.


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