ASIO has warned that the “potential for abuse” of the country’s electronic locksmith licensing system is growing, with new legislation being introduced that could see locksmith licences cancelled or reduced.
The new legislation will give the government the power to remove or restrict the licences of locksmith firms operating within its jurisdiction, including those based overseas, if there is a “substantial and material risk” of a crime being committed by their staff.
The government is also introducing new requirements that locksmith services be licensed in each of the state’s 12 localities and to “ensure the integrity and availability of locks”.
In a statement, ASIO chief officer Tim Kennedy said: “Our current system does not adequately protect our communities and our national security.
We have made significant reforms to the licensing system to ensure we can protect Australians’ rights and to ensure the safety of Australians and our residents.”
This is an important step forward and will enable us to provide more effective and effective protection to Australian communities.
“However, the potential for abuse of the system is rising, and we cannot ignore the need for reform.”
The proposed changes will come into force on August 1.
“This legislation is part of a range of measures that we are implementing to address the increased risk of crime by staff from overseas who are employed by Australian-based locksmith businesses,” Mr Kennedy said.
“The measures will help reduce the risk of harm to Australians and the wider community by ensuring we have an adequate and effective system in place to protect the integrity of our licensed locksmithing business.”
“I have a lot of respect for the industry but I believe we need to be vigilant in what we do, and there is no doubt that the Australian community will be watching closely to see what happens.”
Key points:Lockpicking has long been a popular profession in Australia, but there are concerns about the impact of the changes to licensing rulesMr Kennedy said the changes would allow police and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to “provide greater protection to Australians”The proposed reforms will be announced at a public consultation on the Government’s National Security Legislation Bill, to be announced on August 15.
The Government is also proposing a new offence of “intentional damage” to property.
Under existing laws, someone can be prosecuted for the offence if they knowingly or recklessly damage a locksmith’s business premises.
This means if someone is accused of damaging a lockshop’s premises they would face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5000.
However, under the proposed changes, someone who “knowingly or recklessnessly” damages a locksshop’s premises would face a maximum penalty of 10 years and a maximum fine of $1000.
Under the proposed new law, the maximum penalty would increase to 20 years and the maximum fine would increase by $1000, up from $1000 currently.
Mr Kennedy says the proposed legislation will “allow the AFP and ASIO greater access to their forces to deal with any breaches of security”.
“This will ensure we are able to secure our communities from crime by officers from overseas working with our own staff in our national lock industry,” he said.