Border Force staff in the National Marine Unit who are patrolling our seas are not properly protected against COVID infection according to the public sector union. The Communi…
Border Force staff in the National Marine Unit who are patrolling our seas are not properly protected against COVID infection according to the public sector union. The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) is calling for Border Force to test staff after a vessel intercept and provide more support to staff seeking vaccination. “The National Marine Unit are the ABF officers who patrol the northern borders,” CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly told Sky News. “They come across fishing vessels from countries to our north where we know that there are already significant COVID outbreaks. “This is one of the reasons why they were in the priority group from the start of the vaccination rollout. “But we now are in July, we only have 25 per cent of those staff fully vaccinated and over half, 52 per cent, have not had a single dose and we don’t think that’s good enough.” Ms Donnelly said, “we think the solution should be for the department and local health authorities to facilitate vaccination as they depart the vessel”.
A Sydney man who entered Australia with an inbound travel exemption was raided at a Covid-19 quarantine hotel after allegedly smuggling in child abuse material from the United States.
Australian Border Force (ABF) confirmed the 73-year-old was just one of more than a dozen people allegedly caught trying to bring child abuse photos and videos into Australia during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Australian citizen returned to Sydney airport from the US on September 13 last year. ABF officers were already on alert for possible possession of the horrific child abuse material.
They searched his baggage and confiscated his laptop before he was escorted to a Sydney hotel to complete his mandatory 14-week Covid-19 quarantine period.
Child abuse material was then allegedly found during a forensic examination of the laptop.
ABF investigators and NSW Police officers then raided the Sydney hotel where the man was staying on September 27.
The man was arrested and his electronic devices seized. He has been charged and is in custody.
The detection of child abuse material was one of more than 240 among travellers arriving in Australia since the country shut its border in March last year.
Fifteen travellers attempting to get into Australia have been deported and had their temporary visas cancelled by Australian Border Force officers
Thirteen cases of child abuse material, including cases of importations of childlike sex dolls, were referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said enforcement at the country’s borders would remain tough despite a reduction of travellers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Australians can be assured that the Border Force and the Federal Police are alert to this abhorrent crime and are making it as hard as possible for people to create child abuse material, possess it or travel across an international border with it,” she said.
“As the results show, this work has not stopped during the pandemic.”
ABF received more than 22,000 reports of online child sexual exploitation in the last financial year.
Officers arrested 195 people and laid more than 2700 charges for alleged child abuse-related offences.