Press Conference, Doorstop
26 July 2017
Subjects: Additional airport safety requirements in all major airports around Australia.
Darren Chester: I want to thank the Australian airports for acting so swiftly to implement additional security arrangements in the wake of the counter-terrorism operation which occurred in Sydney over the weekend. I also want to thank the Australian travelling public for their patience at this difficult time. While we certainly apologise for any inconvenience in terms of delays, we make no apologies for the fact that we've made safety our number one priority and we've acted so swiftly to improve safety arrangements at our major airports around the nation. I'd just encourage people to be understanding and be tolerant of the additional requirements that we've put in place, and be respectful of the security operations which are ongoing, and make sure that when dealing with airport staff, give them due courtesy and respect that they're doing a difficult job in trying circumstances.
The travelling public needs to have confidence that we're doing everything we can to maintain safety throughout Australia. At the same time, they should recognise that they may need to allow more time themselves for their domestic flights and international flights. We're advising travellers to allow two hours for domestic flights and three hours for international flights to allow the upgraded security arrangements to be properly implemented. There will be some queuing, and we apologise for that, but again, we can make no apology for the fact that we've made safety our number one priority.
Question: I think you covered my first question there, but what are the state and federal governments doing together to work together through this?
Darren Chester: The safety of our airports is a primary consideration for the Federal Government. They are federally leased airports and we are working with the airport owners, with security agencies, with our counter-terrorism forces to make sure we're doing everything we can to maintain safety for the Australian travelling public. We work in partnership obviously with our State Government counterparts in relation to Victoria Police on any other operation which may be required into the future.
But people need to understand that the changes being made have been made in their interests. There will be some delays and it may be frustrating for them, but it's better to be safe in these difficult circumstances. And we need to work with our security personnel at the airports, with staff involved in checking bags, operating the x-ray machines, and just encourage people to allow a little bit more time for their travel.
Question: Thanks. Anything else you want to say about that one?
Darren Chester: People should go about their business travel and leisure travel just like they would any other day, but recognise they may have to get to the airport just a bit earlier. There is additional safety requirements in place because we're focusing on making sure that, as much as we possibly can, safety remains our number one priority.