ICT will play a key role in boosting Australia’s national security, with $500 million worth of funding announced in the 2010 Federal Budget.
$100.8 million in funding will be provided by the Government over six years to develop a new passport issuing system.
The new passport system will comprise of four elements. The first is an eScan feature which will enable the large-scale scanning of passport application forms and supporting documents.
The second element, eFlow, manages the flow of data through the stages of the passport's approval.
An eCase element will improve fraud investigation, analytical and intelligence capabilities and case management functions, while ePrint will allow for quality-assured, bulk centralised printing of personal information into passports through biometric chip encoding.
Other ICT spending commitments in the Budget include a $23.6 million investment in the Government Document Verification Scheme which works to prevent identity theft. The detection of identity fraud under the Fraudulent Travel Document Detection System will also get $5.9 million in ongoing funding.
According to Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor, $69.4 million will be provided over four years to introduce biometric checks of international passengers at overseas Australian embassies, in order to verify the identity of foreign nationals.
Some $24.9 million will be spent on the second stage of the Government’s Enhanced Passenger Assessment and Clearance system, which allows agencies to more quickly assess passengers, while providing greater ability to store, analyse and share relevant data with intelligence, border management and law enforcement agencies.
Meanwhile, $11.4 million will be spent over four years on a Next Generation Border Security Initiative, allowing the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to undertake advanced data analysis and risk profiling.
The Regional Movement Alert System (RMAS), which automatically verifies the status of passports, will get $9.2 million over four years.
The Budget also seeks to lift Australia’s intelligence gathering and information integrity, with technology investments worth $101.6 million in ongoing funding for telecommunications interception by national security and law enforcement agencies.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre's (AUSTRAC) real-time ability to target serious and organised crime, tax evasion and financial fraud will be boosted through $24 million in additional funding for new analytical technologies.
Parliament House will also get $21.3 million additional funding for security upgrades.