Australian Embassy

Australian and Indonesian Ministers Focus on Border Security Enhancement

Archived Media Release

6 August 2008

Australian and Indonesian Ministers Focus on Border Security Enhancement

Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, and the Indonesian Minister for Law and Human Rights, Andi Mattalatta, today announced the successful implementation of a major border movement alert computer project.

Senator Evans said the Enhanced CEKAL System was a partnership between Australian and Indonesian immigration services and an example of the close cooperation between the two countries to enhance border security.

“The CEKAL system is an Indonesian system used in ports and offices in Indonesia, and also in embassies and consulates around the world, to check the names of people applying for visas or entry permits,” Senator Evans said.

“The Enhanced CEKAL System is a major upgrade to the CEKAL system and it is now operational at five Indonesian ports – Jakarta, Denpasar, Surabaya, Medan and Batam – it will enable more reliable detection of people of concern, as well as assist to prevent people-smuggling and irregular migration.”

“Projects like these help make travel in the region safer and more secure.”

The total cost of the project was about A$10 million. An additional A$2.4 million was allocated in 2008-09 to provide support and maintenance of the project until 2010.

Other measures to further enhance regional cooperation on border security were also high on the agenda during the ministers’ meeting, which also included the Australian Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Bob Debus MP and senior Australian Government officials.

“Indonesia is a key partner for Australia and the Government is committed to a close, practical working relationship,” Senator Evans said.

“We are doing a lot together to improve border security, including through forensic document examination training and initiatives to detect people who seek to travel on fake or altered passports.”

“We are also exploring ways to better share information between our countries, and with other countries in the region, on immigration issues and trends which will help prevent people-smuggling, human trafficking and other forms of trans-national crime.”

Senator Evans said the commitment to mandatory detention along with the excision arrangements and immigration processing at Christmas Island signalled the Australian Government’s strong stance against people-smuggling.

“The new 400-bed centre on Christmas Island is now available for use and people encouraged by people-smugglers to try to improperly enter Australia will be taken to Christmas Island for processing,” Senator Evans said.

“It also demonstrates to our regional partners our strong commitment to addressing these issues and the value we place on their cooperation.”

“I want to acknowledge the outstanding work of the Indonesian authorities to prevent and disrupt the work of people-smugglers,” Senator Evans said.

The Australian Government delegation also met senior representatives of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the regional representatives of International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“A robust immigration program benefits both countries through forging closer people-to-people links and we have seen a steady growth in Indonesian visitors to Australia with nearly 60 000 visitor visas granted last year,” Senator Evans said.

“In Jakarta, we also met the regional representatives of the IOM and UNHCR. IOM is a major partner in the delivery of many of my department’s – the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s – programs in Indonesia including those which assist people who may be vulnerable targets for people-smugglers.”

“UNHCR also plays a crucial role in dealing with the situation of asylum seekers in the region and addressing protection issues,” Senator Evans added.

The Australian Government delegation will now travel to Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore to discuss a range of border security, migration, humanitarian and tourism initiatives.

Media Enquiries:
Jenny Dee, Counsellor (Public Affairs) tel. (021) 2550 5290 mob. 0811 187 3175