Australia's world-class detector dog capability will be further enhanced with dogs from the Australian Border Force, Australian Federal Police and Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to be co-located at a new facility at Banksmeadow in Sydney.
The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton officially opened the new Australian Government Detector Dog Facility during a ceremony today.
"These remarkable animals play a significant role in protecting Australians from prohibited and restricted goods including narcotics, firearms, explosives, currency and tobacco," Mr Dutton said.
"Last year ABF Detector Dog teams made almost 2,000 detections of illicit substances and prohibited items across airports, seaports and postal gateways. AFP canine teams also detected hundreds of kilograms of drugs and millions of dollars' worth of undeclared currency at the borders and in police operations around Australia.
"These agencies already work closely together in both training and development of detector dogs and by co-locating these resources here in Sydney they will be able to quickly deploy to Australia's busiest airport and one of the country's largest maritime ports, as well as police operations across Australia.
"This is another example of the Government's commitment to bringing together the very best of Australia's border and law enforcement agencies and fostering coordination and cooperation across departments and agencies."
The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said detector dogs help protect our valuable agricultural industries and unique environment.
"Last month alone, Australian biosecurity detector dog teams at the Sydney International Airport sniffed out over 1,100 biosecurity risk items including chicken feet, duck tongues and cooked eggs," Mr Littleproud said.
"Any one of these items could have threatened Australia's $63 billion agricultural industries, the environment and community health.
"Dogs are man's best friend and detector dogs are agriculture's best friend, protecting are valuable industries from foreign pests."
Initially almost 50 dogs will be kenneled at the facility, with 31 staff also working on site.
The new centre will complement world-class training and breeding facilities across Australia, including existing joint facilities in Adelaide, Brisbane and soon Perth and the ABF's breeding and training facility in Melbourne.
Detector dog teams undergo rigorous training to search in a range of challenging environments and are routinely tasked to search luggage, mail, air and sea cargo, vessels, vehicles, aircraft, buildings and people.