The federal government is ramping up the information technology component of a project to tighten criminal and security checks on people working at ports and airports.
The Attorney-General's Department is asking vendors for expressions of interest in delivering a system to check the credentials of people who seek authorisation to work in the so-called security zones of those facilities.
The system would support the work of the recently-established AusCheck unit within the department, which is assuming responsibility for coordination of background checking of individuals before they are issued with either maritime or aviation security identification cards.
According to the Attorney-General's department, the establishment of AusCheck -- which follows a review last year of Australia's airport security and aviation card holders' credentials amid concerns over drug smuggling and criminal behaviour at Sydney Airport -- recognised there was "some limitation" in the aviation card administration scheme.
These problems could, the department said, be replicated in a similar scheme presently being implemented at Australia's ports. According to government documentation, a maritime security identification card system is slated for completion by the end of the year, with all people unmonitored within a maritime security zone required to display a pass from 1 January 2007.
According to the Attorney-General's department, "the IT system is required to help the aviation and maritime industries to identify high-risk individuals by interpreting the statutory requirements and recommending whether an aviation security identification card or maritime security identification card should be issued".
The off-the-shelf software solution should be implemented by December.
The system should, according to the tender documentation: be able to receive and assess criminal and security background information from a variety of sources; assess applications' suitability for security identification passes; improve the integrity of background checking and maintain a database of information on persons who apply for passes.