PNG, Australia agree to bump up patrols to watch sea borders

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THE Australian Border Force (ABF) and the PNG Customs Service (PNGCS) have agreed to increase the number of joint cross-border patrols along the PNG-Australia sea border next year.
The increase and other important matters relating to trade facilitation, maritime and border security issues were discussed during the sixth Customs bilateral meeting in Melbourne, Australia, early this month.
Customs Chief Commissioner Ray Paul reaffirmed the long-standing relationship between the two organisations, saying: “Our continuing strong relationship with Home Affairs and ABF has enabled PNGCS to achieve some clear strategic outcomes specifically in the areas of modernisation and professionalism.”
ABF Commissioner Michael Outram described the annual meetings as significant, emphasising it was the “primary driver” of bilateral cooperation among the Australian Department of Home Affairs, ABF and PNGCS.
The “enforcement and awareness” oriented joint cross-border patrols are usually conducted a number of times every year along the sea border by Customs and police officers from both countries focusing on island communities located on both sides of the border.
Apart from that, both organisations agreed to continue to support the Institutional Partnership programme and for the ABF to help PNGCS with the establishment of a detector dog programme, among other things.
Home Affairs and the ABF see the meeting as critical in enabling them to demonstrate their strong, close partnership with PNGCS and to cement Australia’s strategic relationship with PNG as a security partner.

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