Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services
    The Honourable Mark Ryan

    Queensland leads nation to strengthen security measures

    Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services
    The Honourable Mark Ryan

    Wednesday, March 07, 2018

    Queensland leads nation to strengthen security measures

    Queensland has today become the first state or territory to amend legislation to allow police access to shared cutting-edge biometric face matching services.

    Police Minister Mark Ryan said the Police and Other Legislation (Identity and Biometric Capability) Amendment Bill 2018 had been passed to strengthen security measures and improve Queenslanders’ safety in time for the biggest event ever held in this State – the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

    “This Bill comes off the back of a COAG agreement between the Federal Government and all states and territories to allow law enforcement agencies in all jurisdictions to share access to passport, visa, citizenship and driver’s licence images,” Mr Ryan said.

    “This is a vital investigative tool that will allow police to stay one step ahead of terrorists and criminals involved in identity fraud, with identity crime impacting one in 20 Australians every year and the annual cost to the Australian community estimated to be $2.2 billion.

    “Image matching services will also help identify disaster victims.

    “Queensland and other jurisdictions already share identity information on a manual and ad hoc basis, but the identity matching services will make it simpler and faster for law enforcement and security agencies to share information.

    “This will be of real benefit to those tasked with the security of the Commonwealth Games, which represents a once-in-a-lifetime event that will demonstrate to the world the great things Queensland has to offer.

    “We are expecting both international and interstate guests to attend so I encourage the Federal Government and all states and territories to ensure this legislation is passed in time for the Commonwealth Games.

    “This system will have robust privacy safeguards and be implemented in consultation with the Australian Privacy Commissioner and it will be audited by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.”

    Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski acknowledged the importance of the capability for policing both at the Games and into the future.

    “This national capability will provide the Queensland Police Service with a significant tool, not only in ensuring the security of the Commonwealth Games but in addressing the increasing challenges posed by identity fraud and other serious crimes that are enabled as a result, including terrorism,” he said.

    “For the Games, the ability to use the Face Verification Service will significantly benefit Operational Sentinel – the security operation for the Games.

    “This access will allow the comparison of images with immigration and citizenship records held by Australian Government agencies and enable the rapid identification of people.

    “As the Games draw nearer it is envisaged that other agencies will come on board to share their holdings.

    “The capacity for law and security agencies to share critical facial biometric information about the identity of offenders - just like we have for a hundred years with fingerprints and more recently with DNA - is central to meeting the challenges we face now and into the future.”

    Mr Ryan said the Bill also increased the maximum penalty for explosives offences, from two and three years imprisonment respectively to seven years imprisonment, and amended the Liquor Act 1992 to provide an extra hour of liquor trading during the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast Safe Night Precincts of Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise.



    Media contact:

    Emma McBryde 0447 155 332