Communist Party of Australia

We acknowledge the Sovereignty of the First Nations’ Peoples.

The Web CPA Archive Only

Issue #1601      July 10, 2013

Customs needs more funding to fight corruption

The union representing Customs workers says the organisation needs a cash injection if it is going to successfully root out corruption in its ranks.

An initial report by the Customs Reform Board has made a number of recommendations outlining how to deal with criminal elements targeting Customs.

The CPSU said the report acknowledged the fact that the majority of staff are hardworking and honest and want to see corruption banished from the workplace.

CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said: “This has been incredibly hard for the 99 percent of staff who are honest, hardworking and who’ve been tarred with the corruption brush. We are pleased this report recognises that the vast majority of Customs staff are proud of their work protecting Australians and our borders and absolutely oppose corruption in any form. It’s a tiny criminal minority that is making the rest of them pay.”

She said that Customs needed to be funded properly if the raft of corruption-busting measures were to succeed.

“If Customs is going to change then it needs to have the resources to deal both with the criminal minority and a huge jump in passenger and cargo levels. Tough budgets means over 500 staff have been shed in the last five years, including around 100 lost from frontline positions in airports. We’re calling for government to increase staffing and resources in Customs to back in this blueprint.” said Ms Flood.

The CPSU has been heavily engaged with the Reform Board, Customs and the Minister and we’re pleased a number of our recommendations have been picked up by the Board added Ms Flood.

These include:

  • The recognition that integrity needs to start at the top and work its way down
  • The recognition that senior managers in Canberra are “disconnected” from frontline staff
  • That staff training needs improvement
  • That involving staff and their unions in reform is critical and positive
  • That more resources are needed to implement these reforms

However Ms Flood said there were still areas of concern for staff, namely the proposed ban on mobile phones in “sensitive” areas and the impact it will have on workers with caring responsibilities.

“Customs employs over 1,500 staff with young kids and if they can’t get hold of mum or dad in an emergency then that’s very stressful for staff. We are happy to look at sensible options but knee jerk measures like a blanket ban on mobile phones will only damage staff morale.”   

Next article – The People of Egypt will defeat both the US imperialism and Egyptian capitalists

Back to index page