A $700 million update to Australia's border management system will mean that everyone entering the country will have their data scanned and matched against a biometrics database.

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service will soon deploy a new border clearance system that supports biometric eGates. They will also begin a tender process for a provider of technology and system integration services.


The program will be rolled out over the next six years​

The money, which will be spent over the next six years, means that biometric clearance will be deployed to process arrivals at all Australian air and sea entry ports.

The eGates will be remotely monitored and controlled by customs officers using a console. The new system will facilitate the planning and scheduling of customs officers and assets in an effort to oversee the border clearance process for all travellers entering and leaving the country.

Customs officers will be equipped with geographical information systems and handheld devices to effectively carry out their clearance duties at all airports, cruise ship terminals, and on commercial vessels and pleasure craft.

The system will feature integrated process and case management features, enabling it to automate certain jobs such as issuing visas and passports, planning trip itineraries, and border processing and interventions.

The ACBPS said it is also seeking to enhance its identity management system to ensure that border control agencies are able to take more accurate photos of travellers during the customs process.

The new identity management system would also generate advanced analytics on live transactional data for risk assessment purposes, allowing Customs to spot unique identities based on characteristics and associations, as well as in the case of split and merged identities.

News of the border clearance system comes at a time of rapid growth for the Australian tourism industry, with Customs forecasting traveller numbers to increase from the current level of 30 million a year to 50 million by 2023.

'Underpinning the operation will be an intelligence gathering biometrics data collection. Before commencing their journey, the traveller will provide clearance information as part of the check-in process,' said Scott Morrison, minister of immigration and citizenship.

The data will then be passed on to Australian border security agencies for assessment prior to the traveller's arrival. During transit, the data will be evaluated against risk criteria such as criminal convictions and links to terrorist groups.

'The traveller will pass through streamlined automatic passport control systems that examine and retain biometric data. If no risks are identified, it is anticipated that visitors will move through automated systems in less than a minute,' added Morrison.

If the person is identified as a potential criminal or terrorist, the border protection officer will intervene and take the traveller to a separate zone for manual processing.