Stephen Smith MP
Minister for Defence
Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, and Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator Penny Wong today announced the launch of the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) - a single, centralised agency for Commonwealth security checks.
The AGSVA, managed by the Department of Defence, will improve security vetting for the Commonwealth by providing public servants and government contractors with a single security clearance recognised across government. These new arrangements will remove unnecessary regulation and deliver cost savings of at least $5.3 million per year.
Attorney-General, Robert McClelland said the AGSVA’s centralised approach and use of IT innovation removes inconsistencies and duplication associated with the current system.
“Before the AGSVA, more than 100 agencies replicated the processes of security vetting while more than 50 agencies held separate contracts with vetting service providers,” Mr McClelland said.
“The introduction of a single vetting agency removes this inefficient duplication.”
Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Penny Wong said the launch of the AGSVA reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to ensuring a coordinated approach to regulatory reform across government.
“A major benefit of the new system is that public servants and contractors will now be provided with a single clearance - a Commonwealth security clearance - which is recognised and effective across government,” Senator Wong said.
“This is a great example of the Government working to cut red-tape and improve efficiencies in our own backyard.”
The Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, said it would deliver an efficient and cost-effective service.
“By automating the process, the AGSVA will deliver security clearances quicker and with much less paperwork,” Mr Smith said.
“This outcome will ease the burden on those undergoing security checks while delivering savings to the Government.”
Mr McClelland said the AGSVA will be supported by a new Personnel Security Protocol which sets out the practices and procedures that all Government agencies should follow to achieve effective personnel security and ongoing management of security clearances.
The protocol adopts a more streamlined and practical approach that focuses on:
- minimising intrusion into employee privacy where possible by aligning background checking to personnel security vulnerabilities
- ensuring cross-recognition of security clearances by all Australian Government agencies
- enabling agencies to undertake additional character checks identified in their risk assessments; and
- closer alignment of the clearance review process with our international partners.
Today’s launch delivers on a commitment the Government made in November last year. When fully up and running, the AGSVA will have a customer base of around 300 Government Agencies and expects to process around 48,000 clearance actions per annum.
Mr Smith’s office: Mary Bagnall on 0434 665067 or 6277 7800; Department: 6127 1999
Mr McClelland’s office: Daniel Gleeson on 0417 886 111 or 6277 7300
Senator Wong’s office: Laura Anderson on 0411 143 111 or 6277 7400
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