Australia is to boost its intelligence sharing with the US customs and border protection service.
The immigration minister, Scott Morrison, said the Australian and US customs and border protection agencies had agreed to a formal strategic partnership from 2014, which would see two Australian officers posted to the US to strengthen intelligence co-operation.
Morrison said a trial of the closer engagement over the past year led to a crackdown on organised crime and resulted in several major drug seizures.
“These results demonstrate that governments must work together to effectively combat transnational crime and terrorism,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
The move to strengthen intelligence sharing with the US comes after a former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden leaked thousands of secret documents, including details of how Australian spies targeted the phone of the Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Source: theguardian.com
For ‘smoking’ travellers to Australia, please read up on the new duty-free concessions before you decide to stock up.
The reduced tobacco duty-free limit came into effect on 1 September 2012. It was announced in the 2012-13 Federal Budget that the duty-free concession on tobacco products would change.
Travellers aged 18 years or over can bring 50 cigarettes or 50 grams of cigars or tobacco products duty-free into Australia with you. All tobacco products in accompanied baggage are included in this category, regardless of where or how they were purchased.
Be aware that if you exceed Australia’s duty-free limits, duty and tax will apply on ALL items of that type (general goods, alcohol or tobacco), not just the goods over the limit. The general goods and alcohol duty-free concessions remain the same. Source: Australian Customs Service
Australia’s high court recently upheld the government’s decision to implement a law which requires cigarettes to be sold in olive green packets, with graphic images warning of the consequences of smoking. The law is to come into effect on 1 December 2012. The South African authorities appear to be following the same route and are currently ‘testing’ the concept of the olive green packets (what’s there to test?). Despite the obvious reaction of the Tobacco Inc. to the new law, it is not difficult to see that it will make anti-counterfeit enforcement even more difficult for authorities. Perhaps the UK liquor boys are ahead in their thinking – import liquor in bulk and bottle it in the UK, this way you’re in charge of the packaging and labelling. Health officials are definitely more concerned with health than profit.