The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (the Service) welcomes the report of the Capability Review (the Review) and the opportunity it presents to contribute to our reform programme.
The Service faces a very challenging future border environment, with significant increases in international trade and travel volumes, greater complexity in cargo supply chains and passenger travel routes, and growing sophistication of serious and organised crime. The Service has also recently faced events that make it clear organised crime syndicates are attempting to infiltrate and corrupt public organisations and officials as part of their business models.
These challenges highlight the need for the Service to reform. Many aspects of our current operating model (including legislation, structures, systems, workforce capability and culture) are not suited or able to be adapted to meet the expectations and requirements of a 21st Century customs and border protection service. New capabilities are needed so that the Service can continue to deliver effective community and border protection outcomes into the future. Findings from the Review will assist us identify these capabilities, along with advice from the Customs Reform Board which has been established to provide external review of the reform programme.
The Review has identified a number of areas where we are doing well, in addition to areas where improvement is required. I particularly welcome acknowledgment in the Review that our officers are a key strength of the Service, and their commitment and motivation is important to achieving our role protecting the Australian community. I recognise that to support this, the Service requires a stronger people framework, including structures, policies and procedures to support our people to develop and excel. This will be a key focus area for our reform programme going forward.
Leadership is another key area we will continue to focus on. Critical to improving our leadership is a vision for the Service’s future that is clearly understood by our officers and supported by a strong communication framework. The Service will also continue to roll out the Listen Respect Lead program, which is an important step in building a better workplace through positive staff engagement and generating a shared understanding and commitment to the Service’s goals.
We have already taken several steps towards reforming the Service. A Reform Taskforce was established in early 2013 to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated approach is applied to all reform initiatives. In the last year we have focused on implementing additional robust integrity and professional standards measures including integrity testing of officers suspected of corrupt conduct, mandatory reporting of misconduct or corrupt activity, and drug and alcohol testing. A number of initiatives to modernise our systems and define our operating model are also being progressed under our reform programme. Many of these initiatives are aligned with findings from the Review, including introducing more agility into our operating model and improving systems and information technology to support our people and the services we deliver.
I wish to thank the Australian Public Service Commission and the senior review team, Lieutenant General Mark Evans AO DSC (Ret'd), Ms Akiko Jackson, Ms Elizabeth Kelly and Dr Heather Smith, for bringing their expertise and experience to the Review.
The work we have commenced to build our capability, and which will continue under the reform programme, will ensure that our people are better supported to meet future challenges and we are better able to serve the Australian public.
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service