You are here: Skip breadcrumbAttorney-General's Department >> Publications >> Annual reports >> Annual report 2008-09 >> Annual Report 2008-09 Output 2.6

 Annual Report 2008-09 Output 2.6

 next page previous page



To achieve Output 2.6, the AusCheck Background Checking Service coordinates criminal and security checks of applicants for Aviation and Maritime Security Identification Cards. Since April 2009, AusCheck has also incorporated the Australian Security Vetting Service (see Output 2.5) as a separate business line with a separate budget and information holdings.

During 2008–09, AusCheck received 76,544 requests for background checks. AusCheck processed 96.6 per cent of all applications in less than 20 days with 86.6 per cent of applications processed in less than five days. It also completed its role in the background checking process in a single day more than 99 per cent of the time (that is, excluding periods awaiting checking partners or the 28-day comment period for draft adverse or qualified findings).

The AusCheck Amendment Bill 2009, to broaden AusCheck’s background checking functions, was introduced into Parliament in March 2009.

Major achievements

AusCheck was selected as a finalist in the government category of the inaugural Australian Privacy Awards presented in August 2008. The awards recognise and reward businesses and government agencies that engage in good privacy practices.

The Department supported the Attorney-General in securing introduction into Parliament of the AusCheck Amendment Bill 2009. This Bill would enable AusCheck to undertake national security background checking beyond the existing aviation and maritime schemes, where new checks were established under some other legislation. The Bill would also tighten controls on use of biometric information. The Bill was referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee and the Department assisted the Committee’s consideration of the Bill through a written submission and attendance to answer questions. At the end of the reporting period, the Government was considering its response to the Committee’s recommendations.

Evaluations and reviews

In April 2009, AusCheck commissioned independent research company ORIMA Research to conduct its second annual client satisfaction survey. The survey reported that overall client satisfaction with AusCheck’s services remained consistent with last year’s good results. Findings from this year’s survey reported overall client satisfaction at 84 per cent positive with 13 per cent expressing no strong view. Dissatisfaction levels remained consistent with last year’s low findings (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: AusCheck client satisfaction survey results, comparing 2008 and 2009

Figure 6: AusCheck client satisfaction survey results, comparing 2008 and 2009 

Access to AusCheck data

During 2008–09, the Department received eight requests for information from the AusCheck database for national security and law enforcement purposes. Requesting agencies were the Australian Federal Police (four requests) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (four requests).


Subject to passage of the AusCheck Amendment Bill and any decisions on introducing new background checking requirements, the Department will be gearing up to adopt additional national security background checking roles next year.

The Department will also work with its checking partners to reduce average timeframes for background checking, and to improve proactive reporting to industry partners on delayed background checks.

Performance indicators

Table 19: Performance indicators, Output 2.6—AusCheck

Key performance indicators

2008–09 target


Provide timely and effective background checks for Aviation Security Identity Card and Maritime Security Identity Card issuing bodies

95% of all accepted Aviation Security Identity Card and Maritime Security Identity Card applications are completed within five business days for Australian citizens with no actual or potential criminal history

Substantially achieved

AusCheck completed more than 90% of all accepted Aviation and Maritime Security Identity Card applications within five business days for Australian citizens with no actual or potential criminal history.

Provide a consistent decision-making process that ensures privacy and legal rights are protected

100% of AusCheck decisions upheld on appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

Substantially achieved

12 appeals were lodged with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal during 2008–09, with one upheld, seven withdrawn, one dismissed, one consent order and two still active at year’s end.

Our people

Developing an advance tsunami warning system

Prue Harley, National Security Training, Education and Development Branch, National Security Capability Development Division

Prue Harley, National Security Training,
Education and Development Branch, National
Security Capability Development Division.

Protect lives, property and infrastructure from tsunami

Completion of this four-year project means Australia now has an end-to-end tsunami warning system, with 24/7 monitoring of our region for seismic activity and warning capability.

Operation of the warning system will protect lives, property and infrastructure from tsunami. The Department’s role was to increase the awareness and preparedness of the Australian community and industry about tsunami and to build Australia’s capacity to deal with the threat or event of tsunami.

‘A highlight of this project was in taking a whole-of-government approach with so many strong partner agencies,’ said Prue Harley, Assistant Director of the Tsunami Warning Implementation Team.

‘We worked closely with Geoscience Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology on the capability development aspects of the project, and with our jurisdictional partners in the States and Territories.’

The Department focused on the preparedness, prevention, response and recovery aspects of dealing with a natural hazard through capacity building and education programs. Our goal was to achieve safer, more sustainable communities through increased knowledge and awareness of tsunami.

‘Our educational and capacity building initiatives included tsunami workshops for emergency managers, and a suite of education publications—such as brochures, activity sheets, information sheets, educational DVDs and CD ROM and action guides—for the general public, boat owners, recreational marine users, school children and teachers. We mounted a Tsunami Show at the National Science and Technology Centre. And we developed a tsunami education kit for Indigenous Australians in remote coastal communities. We also tailored educational materials for culturally and linguistically diverse communities and people with disabilities,’ Prue explained.

‘It’s been very rewarding to lead my team on this project and I look forward to continuing our work in further strengthening Australia’s resilience and capability to deal with hazards,’ Prue concluded.

 next pageprevious page