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Above photo: Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, and Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor/ From Mr. Dutton’s Twitter page

Above photo: Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, and Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor/ From Mr. Dutton’s Twitter page

Canberra Airport to host trials of next generation SmartGates eventually leading to contactless processing

The next generation of SmartGates will be tested at Canberra Airport early next year, which will eventually lead to contactless processing at Australia’s airports for international travellers. Trials are expected to begin in Canberra in early 2018.

Initially the new SmartGates will operate in ‘contact’ mode where travellers will insert their passport for processing.

Later, the Canberra gates will be switched to ‘contactless’ mode, enabling an increasing number of incoming passengers to pass through the airport without having to produce their passport, with the new technology using biometric facial authentication.

After the Canberra trial, 105 new SmartGates will be rolled out across Australia’s international airports through 2018-19.

Each year an average of 40 million people are cleared through the border at Australian international airports and this number is expected to rise to 50 million in the next few years. The new generation SmartGates will make travelling easier, processing individuals in and out of Australia in about 20 seconds.

At the moment, SmartGates are used in arrival as well as departure at Australian international airports. In addition to Australians, passengers holding ePassports from 14 eligible countries can use the arrival SmartGates. An ePassport has a microchip embedded in the travel document and an international ePassport symbol on the front cover. The microchip contains the same personal information that is on the photo page of the ePassport, including a digitised photograph. Facial recognition technology is used in the second step of a two-step process to match a captured image of the person with the ePassport photograph.

The Departures SmartGates at major international airports can be used by all passengers, regardless of nationality or age to self-process through passport control.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, and Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, Angus Taylor, visited Canberra International Airport to see first-hand the world leading technology the Australian Border Force (ABF) is using at the border.

The Australian Government had invested more than AU$120 million to improve the experience for passengers at the border and to ensure Australia remains at the forefront of technological solutions to support border protection.

“This investment has led to the establishment of an ecosystem of sophisticated and innovative intelligence, data analytics, biometrics and processing capabilities that seamlessly manages the movement of people and goods across Australia’s border,” Mr. Dutton said.

“Seeing ABF officers using this state-of-the-art technology strengthens the critical role they play, both in Australia and offshore, in identifying individuals who cross Australia’s border. This technology is allowing ABF officers to focus more effort on traveller interactions, intelligence gathering and enforcement activities.”

Mr Taylor said, “I’m impressed by the innovative technologies already in use at our airports, in particular the SmartGates which allow the vast majority of travellers to instantly clear the border.”

In addition to SmartGates, the ABF uses a range of innovative technologies to conduct border operations more broadly. Officers at Australian international airports have access to cutting edge X-ray equipment and a range of drug and explosive detection technology. 

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