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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

APEC Transportation Ministers Meeting to focus on security

Towards strengthening transport security across the Asia-Pacific region against the threat of further terrorist attacks, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services,…

Towards strengthening transport security across the Asia-Pacific region against the threat of further terrorist attacks, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Mark Vaile, said in preparation for the 5th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Transportation Ministers’ Meeting that is taking place in Canberra, Australia.

Mr Vaile, who will chair the ministerial meeting, said a key aim for APEC was building the capacity of all economies to create an environment for the secure and efficient movement of passengers and freight across the region.

The economic impact of a terrorist attack involving a large passenger aircraft in Australia is estimated to be around $30 billion. The meeting of APEC Transportation Ministers in Adelaide on 28-30 March offers an opportunity to work together to protect our transport systems from the threat of terrorism, Mr Vaile said.

The networked nature of the region`s transport system means that attacks in one economy can have far reaching ramifications for other economies, so improving preventative security in the transport sector is an important challenge for all economies in the region. Cooperation, collaboration and capacity building offer significant opportunities for all economies to enhance their transport security frameworks, he added.

He went on to say, For example, developing comprehensive transport security strategies that focus on the international intermodal movement of cargo door-to-door, and in particular focusing on the high-risk transfer points is an important economic priority for the economy. This could also extend to joint development projects that may lead to improved consistency in standards, identify good practice and the development of capability programmes that would economically benefit all APEC economies.

It is important that the APEC economies continue to work together to enhance the region`s transport security capacity by identifying best practices, sharing information and training programs. Good examples of these collaborative approaches so far have been work led by Singapore on total supply chain security, a joint Australian-Indonesian project on aviation security and an enhanced ongoing model visit program in relation to internal maritime standards.

The latest focus of global aviation security is on liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs), and each country is adopting slightly different requirements on slightly different timetables. In Australia, new security measures for LAGs come into effect from 31 March 2007. The security outcome is paramount but greater cooperation between APEC economies on LAGs issues will allow a more seamless experience for passengers, Mr. Vaile concluded.

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