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Airport Security Crackdown To Target Ground Staff, Baggage Handlers

Sweeping reforms are coming to Australia's airports.

22/10/2017 9:24 AM AEDT | Updated 22/10/2017 12:15 PM AEDT
Jason Reed / Reuters
Airport staff will be subject to sweeping new rules.

Airport workers will be subjected to strict new rules as part of a new security crackdown.

The clampdown will see staff at Australia's major airports undergo random testing for explosives, NewsCorp Australia reports.

It will reportedly impact more than 14,000 workers including baggage handlers, caterers, engineers and maintenance staff.

The Turnbull government is expected to announce the new measures on Sunday. They come after an alleged plot to smuggle explosives onto a flight at Sydney airport was foiled earlier this year.

According to NewsCorp, the federal government believes the new reforms will help ensure airport staff are authorised and properly trained before entering secure areas.

The Sunday Herald Sun reports the ramped-up measures are targeted at preventing terror attacks on the tarmac.

Transport Minister Darren Chester said airport workers "would be randomly selected for explosive trace detection testing and other screening".

"Other measures being introduced include stronger access controls and additional security awareness training for aviation workers," Chester was quoted as saying.

But South Australian senator Nick Xenophon said the measures did not go far enough.

Xenophon said he would pursue the matter in Senate Estimates and call for a US-style agency to be responsible for airport security.

"This will result in all employees coming under Government authority and not private contractors," he said in a statement.

"Australian aircraft passengers deserves the world's best practice when it comes to security but the Government's measures fall well short of it."

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