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ABF targets Townsville in high-visibility border blitz

The Australian Border Force (ABF) staged a week of action in Townsville last week, focused on ensuring proper processes for site access and maintaining integrity of international cargo in the port and airport vicinity, and pushing back against potential criminal infiltration.

The activity formed a part of Operation Jardena, which is focused on disrupting the capability of criminal organisations to infiltrate the international supply chain and reform to ensure the ABF is well positioned to stop exploitation of our borders now and into the future. The activity was supported by Queensland Police and Queensland Transport and Main Roads.

ABF Inspector Neil Singh said that since Operation Jardena was established, officers have been working around the clock to identify and disrupt the exploitation of vulnerabilities, noting that Jardena is the critical platform to drive forward reforms across the supply chain. “People will remember our detection earlier this year of almost 250kg of cocaine off a vessel arriving into Port of Townsville. This highlights the very real risk of criminal activity at all international border crossings – and not just at major metropolitan locations,” Inspector Singh said.

“In order to protect the Queensland community from the impacts of criminal activity in our regional ports, it’s critical that we crush the ability for criminals to operate at the border.

“We often speak of the concept of ‘trusted insiders’ being taken advantage of by criminal groups. Those who work in the supply chain have unique access and privileged positions, and nefarious groups will do what they can to corrupt them. We must not, and will not, allow that.

“Last week we were able to gather significant amounts of information and also identify areas of local improvement and reform – including through the improved use of CCTV, access card issuing and other measures relating to international cargo and vessels.

“We also had a strong focus on education – ensuring stakeholders knew their responsibilities and the key role they play in ensuring the integrity of Australia’s supply chain in our regional areas.

“I would like to thank Port of Townsville for its assistance and cooperation during this activity, and their clear commitment to continual improvement in this space. I would also like to thank our partners in Queensland Police and Queensland Transport and Main Roads for their invaluable collaboration.”