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Australia boosts local security
from BBC News on Monday, August 23, 2004
Article ID: D152329
Australia is to spend A$48m (US$35m) increasing security against possible terrorist threats at regional airports around the country. The issue of national security - including Australia's role in the war on Iraq - appears likely to be a significant election topic.
A general election is due to be held in Australia before the end of this year.
Transport Minister John Anderson says 150 airports in the Australian Outback will be affected.
A number of small rapid response teams of specially-trained police will be established around the country, and there will be extra training for airport staff and airline workers.
Closed-circuit television cameras will be installed at some small airports, and regional airlines will be given money to strengthen the cockpit doors of small charter aircraft.
The minister says hand-held metal detectors will be issued to screen passengers, but they will be used only at times of what he called 'heightened alert'.
Full passenger screening in Australia's Outback, he says, is simply not practical.
The Minister for Justice, Chris Ellison, denies these moves are intended to win votes in the coming election, while Peter Beattie, Labour Party premier of the state of Queensland, welcomed the news with the word "Hallelujah".
Better security in the Outback, he says, is long overdue.
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