Customs resumes Cross Border Patrols with PNG

Officers from Customs and Queensland Police will visit villages in PNG and the Torres Strait in a move to increase border protection in the region, Minister for Home Affairs, Bob Debus announced today.
They'll be accompanied by two officers from the PNG Internal Revenue Commission and two officers from the Royal PNG Constabulary.
The Joint Cross Border Patrol begins today and runs for a week. It will visit the islands of Daru (PNG) and Saibai (Australia) and the villages of Sigabaduru, Mabaduan, Kulalai, and Buzi on the PNG mainland.
Mr Debus said the Patrol coincided with the opening of a new Customs facility on Saibai Island.
"The new facility will be used by a range of agencies including police and immigration. It will be the Government's most northerly facility and a frontline defence against illegal arrivals, foreign fishing and a range of other border incursions."
During the visits the team of eight officials from both countries will talk to locals about cross border movement regulations and gather information on suspicious border activities. The patrol will also allow officials to familiarise themselves with the people and environment along the Western Province Coast of PNG and Torres Strait communities.
Mr Debus said cooperation between Australia and PNG was essential in ensuring the security of the region.
"The Australian Government is glad to see the resumption of cross border patrols in the area which will enhance cooperation with our northern neighbours.
"These patrols are an important part of making sure that Australia's northern borders are protected, in fact, previous patrols have resulted in the disruption of weapon and cannabis smuggling," Mr Debus said.
"The eight officers will be supported by another eight Customs marine unit officers onboard the Customs vessel, Botany Bay."
The Australian and PNG officials will be transported into the communities by the Botany Bay, its tender vessels, a new 12 metre Customs response vessel based at Thursday Island and a Coastwatch helicopter.


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