Chapter 7: The Challenge of Security at Air and Seaports
7. The challenge of security at air and seaports The obligations on airports and seaports to the counter-terrorism security regime in Australia that followed the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States were considerable. The impact of these new responsibilities was, for airports in particular, a re-orientation of their fundamental purpose away from service and business to a policing role. Ports of both kinds are transport service centres with multiple relationships with other facilities in close proximity (often on the same site) such as cargo agents, flying clubs or pilot schools aimed at moving people and freight to their destination, or training the generations of the future to do so. Each port was a vital hub, some essential to Australia’s interconnectedness internationally, others to a region and yet others to a remote locale such as an indigenous community, an offshore island settlement, or a mine. The character and identity of both sea and airports over the past two decades had already changed significantly. Seaports were corporatised and airports had been privatised during the 1990s and early 2000s, transforming many airports from government-owned infrastructure to businesses, profitmaking and profit-seeking entities in intense competition with one another. Yet, in the wake of the counter-terrorism reforms both sea and airports were re-identified as a possible location for a terrorist attack or the entry point of a terrorist into the country. For some, such as major airports, this reorientation began suddenly as the attacks unfolded in the United States. For others, the smaller...
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