Tuesday, 11 May 2021
Media release

Joint media release with the Hon. Alex Hawke MP - Funding a safer Australia to secure our future

The Morrison Government is building a more secure and resilient Australia with more than $2 billion in investment to bolster national security, improve community safety and further streamline our migration system as part of our plan to secure Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The safety and security of Australians remains paramount and will become increasingly important as the Government moves to the next phase of our Economic Recovery Plan.

The 2021-22 Budget focuses on ensuring that we keep Australians, our borders and our economy safe.

From combatting threats of espionage and criminal gangs, to ensuring that security and trust are built into the foundations of Australia’s digital economy, the Morrison Government is focussed on combatting the risk of threats posed to Australians that remain ever-present.

A secure Australia, along with a carefully managed migration program, will all support Australia’s economic recovery and ongoing prosperity as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Security

The Government is committed to keeping Australians safe and secure.

The Government will make one of the biggest long-term investments ever to address a complex and dynamic national security environment, with a $1.3 billion boost to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) over the next decade.

This massive investment will ensure that ASIO can continue to protect Australia and Australians from threats to our security.

Coming on top of already record funding for ASIO, this funding boost will ensure that ASIO can significantly enhance its capability to identify and respond to threats. It will also enable ASIO to respond to challenges posed by rapid technological change, particularly through leveraging the Australian technology industry.

This unprecedented long-term investment in our nation’s security will give ASIO the certainty it needs to develop its capabilities and workforce over the next decade.

The Government will also boost funding to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) by $51.8 million to enable it to continue to combat the ever-growing threat that transnational, serious and organised crime poses to Australia.

This funding will enhance the ACIC’s core criminal intelligence capabilities and support the delivery of the National Criminal Intelligence System (NCIS). NCIS will integrate policing partners to provide a national, unified picture of criminal activity across the country. This seamless sharing of national policing information will protect Australia by equipping law enforcement with the information they need, when they need it, to address and prevent criminal activity.

Border security

The Morrison Government continues to invest in strong border protection.

The Government’s Immigration Detention Network (IDN) plays a critical part in securing our borders. The 2021-22 Budget allocates additional funding of $464.7 million to increase capacity of the network both onshore and at the North West Point Immigration Detention Centre on Christmas Island. This will address ongoing capacity pressures on the IDN as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability to remove unlawful non-citizens from Australia.

By identifying threats posed by travellers to Australia, we can disrupt those threats before they even reach our border. Therefore, the 2021-22 Budget allocates $7.7 million to maintain the Australian Border Force’s Airline Liaison Program, which will maintain our overseas network of Border Force officers in international airports.

To ensure the continued success of Operation Sovereign Borders, an additional $38.1 million has been allocated in 2021-22 to continue the Regional Cooperation Arrangement in Indonesia.

Community Safety

The safety of families and children at home and in our community is a top priority for the Morrison Government.

At the heart of that priority is a commitment to continue to combat the monstrous crime of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

The Government will allocate $59.9 million for the Australian Federal Police (AFP) over four years to allow it to further invest in new frontline operational activities to keep our children safe, building on the success of the Government’s investment in the AFP to establish the world-leading Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation. This investment builds on the $300.2 million investment in the Australian Federal Police in the 2020-21 Budget.

The 2021-22 Budget also allocates:

  • $11.9 million over four years to equip intelligence, research and border protection agencies to disrupt the cash flow behind child sexual abuse; prevent and disrupt livestreamed child sexual abuse; intercept material and offenders at the border; and, enhance our ability to identify offenders within the community.
  • $7.8 million over four years to work with Indo-Pacific partners on regional policy, legislative, and operational responses to the increasingly borderless crime of child sexual abuse.
  • A further $2.9 million over four years to build relationships with digital industry to drive a coordinated and collaborative charge against offenders’ exploitation of online platforms to engage in child sexual abuse.

These investments will form a key part of the implementation of Australia’s forthcoming National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse.

The 2021-22 Budget also allocates $9.6 million to support cross-border access to data to support the investigation of serious crimes, including child sexual abuse and exploitation.

Secure digital economy

The Government will provide individuals and businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, with the confidence needed to embrace the digital economy, which is paramount to economic recovery.

The 2021-22 Budget allocates $33.5 million over four years for initiatives to enhance the security of Australia’s mobile networks (5G and future 6G networks), accelerate commercialisation of sovereign network and data security solutions and deliver a National Data Security Action Plan co-designed with industry. In addition, an investment of $2.8 million will bolster the foundational arrangements on which Australia’s national Digital Identity Program is based.

Security of critical infrastructure

The security of our critical infrastructure assets and systems of national significance underpins Australia’s way of life and our ongoing economic success. The 2021-22 Budget has allocated $42.4 million to improve security arrangements for those assets and to assist critical infrastructure owners and operators respond to significant cyber-attacks.

Migration program

To facilitate Australia’s economic recovery, the 2021-22 Migration Program ceiling will be maintained at 160,000 places – which includes 79,600 Skill and 77,300 Family stream places. To ensure Australia remains one of the most generous humanitarian resettlement countries in the world, the Humanitarian Program will have 13,750 places in 2021-22 and maintain our long-term commitment to humanitarian resettlement.

The hospitality and tourism sector has suffered serious negative impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly given its historic reliance on temporary visa holders to support the sector. The Government will increase flexibility for student visa holders to work beyond the current 40 hour per fortnight limit in the hospitality and tourism sectors. This builds on the existing flexibility arrangements for student visa holders to work in critical sectors as part of the COVID-19 response.

The Government will also extend the validity period for Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visas by 18 months for individuals who are unable to use their visas due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The Government will enhance migration litigation and merits review by funding additional finalisations in the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and providing an additional judge in the Federal Circuit Court in 2021-22, and a second judge in 2022-23.

The Government will also strengthen migrant worker protection in response to recommendations of the Report of the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce.

Social cohesion

Supporting social cohesion and family reunion objectives remains a key priority for the Government throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to increased demand for domestic and family violence (DFV) services among migrant women during the pandemic, the Government is providing funding of $29.3 million to support refugee women and other migrant women’s safety, social and economic inclusion – as part of the Women’s Safety Package. The Department of Home Affairs will establish new visa support and coordination functions, via a dedicated DFV support team.

To improve English language outcomes with a view to improve integration and employment prospects for migrants, the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) will introduce a new delivery model linking service provider funding to student outcomes from 1 July 2023.

Through significant investment in the 2021-22 Budget, the Morrison Government is securing Australia’s recovery, prioritising national security and stronger borders for a safer, more secure and more resilient Australia.