Wagga Airport's enhanced security measures may require terminal refit, says council

The security upgrade will significantly change how passengers pass through the country's airports. Picture: Paul Rovere
The security upgrade will significantly change how passengers pass through the country's airports. Picture: Paul Rovere

Wagga Airport may need an overhaul to allow for tightened security measures announced by the federal government.

More than $50 million was put aside to install full body scanners at regional airports as part of a broader anti-terrorism package announced in the recent federal budget.

Senior council project manager Darryl Woods said depending on the full details of the requirements – which were yet to be revealed by the Department of Home Affairs – construction work and reconfiguration may be necessary.

“The federal government will make funding available to implement the requirements and council will then need to budget for the ongoing maintenance of any equipment,” Mr Woods said.

The pre-election budget had become a political football for the major parties and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten questioned whether $50 million was enough to get the job done.

“Now, $50 million at first blush sounds like quite a bit, but when you look at what has to happen at all the regional airports… I am worried that the government has underfunded the security promise and it’s going to put the viability of some regional airports in danger,” Mr Shorten said. “It is important that whilst we promote the security of our airports, we don't punish the viability of regional airports.”

The federal government also announced broader powers for federal police, who will be able to ask anyone for identification, with or without reason to suspect them of wrongdoing and eject them from an airport. Under existing laws, police can only demand identification if they have reasonable grounds to suspect someone is involved in criminal activity.

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