Security training review to stay secret amid terrorism fears


A government-ordered review into aviation security training will be kept secret amid warnings that terrorists will continue trying to thwart security measures.

The Australian can reveal that the Inspector of Transport Security review will not be made public despite calls by a Senate committee that it be published.

This is because the inquiry covers “security sensitive information”, a spokesman from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development said.

The move comes as a new Senate committee report into airport security warns that despite the “profound” changes in the wake of the September 11 terrorist strikes, “the aviation sector can expect continued attempts to subvert security measures as terrorists evolve their capabilities”.

The report points to advice from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation that terrorists are adapting to security measures that are already in place and are refining their methods.

“Attacks against airports and airlines have the potential to cause massive damage and disruption through mass casualties, significant detrimental economic impacts and the creation of a climate of fear and anxiety among the travelling public,” the report says.

“It is clear from evidence received by the committee that there are areas of airport and aviation security that require significant improvement to guard against any possible breaches of Australia’s air transport infrastructure, by individuals or organised groups.”

Pointing to concerns about the training of airport screening staff, the committee recommended that the Inspector of Transport Security inquiry should be released.

The Australian Security Industry Association told the committee that fewer security certificate training courses were available and the National LGBTI Health Alliance complained about the attitude of some screening staff.

The Australian and International Pilots Association has argued that security screening of flight crew should be halted because it served no actual purpose and instead exposed them to “repetitive mini-power-plays by screeners”.

The inquiry was finished in September and the government accepted its recommendations the following month, the Infrastructure spokesman said.

“The government has discussed relevant findings with industry participants through the transport security consultative forums,” the spokesman said.

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