Aviation Crimes and Policing Legislation Bill 2010 Introduces Tougher Laws Against Aviation Crimes Carried Out in Australia
Canberra, Australia (News4us.com) February 10, 2011
Minister for Home Affairs and Justice Brendan O’Connor today welcomed the passage of tougher laws against aviation crimes such as bomb hoaxes and endangering an aircraft in flight.
“With these new crimes and tougher penalties we’re creating safer skies for the travelling public and those who work in the aviation industry,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Attacks and threats against our airlines, airports and aeroplanes put lives at risk, cause great distress to passengers and staff and impose unnecessary burdens on our aviation industry.”
The Aviation Crimes and Policing Legislation Bill 2010 introduces three new offences:
- Assault of an aircraft crew member – a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment
- Reckless endangerment of an aircraft where danger of serious harm or death can be shown – a maximum penalty of 14 years
- Having or placing dangerous good onboard an aircraft, where there is risk of serious harm or death – a maximum penalty of 14 years.
The legislation also boosts penalties for existing offences, providing greater consistency with other criminal legislation:
- 10 years jail for hoax and threat offences, such as calling an airline and saying a bomb is on a plane, or threatening to bomb or blow up an airport. This offence currently carries a two year maximum jail term.
- 14 years jail for offences against aircraft or aviation environments, such as damaging or destroying the facilities of a major airport, which currently carries maximum jail terms of seven or ten years.
- 20 years jail for very serious offences that pose danger or cause serious harm to groups of people, such as assaulting a pilot or endangering an aircraft while in flight. These offences currently carry maximum jail terms of seven, 14 or 15 years.
- Life in jail will continue to apply to offences such as hijacking or destroying an aircraft and being reckless as to causing death.
“Threats and hoaxes can compromise public safety – for example, where a flight has to be diverted at short notice or where an airport needs to be evacuated suddenly,” he said.
Airlines, airports and unions were consulted in the development of these laws over several months and the response to these new offences and penalties was overwhelmingly supportive.
“I thank the industry for its input and I’m confident that this new suite of offences and penalties will help them to conduct their business in greater safety and security,” Mr O’Connor said.
The new laws complement a $200 million package of aviation security initiatives announced last year including extra firearms and explosive detection dog teams, new passenger screening technologies, cargo x-ray screening and boosting security on international flights.
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