Appointment Of Inspector Of Transport Security

The former head of the United Nations' police force whose responsibilities included overseeing the deployment of 12,500 personnel to 18 missions around the world has been appointed as Australia's new Inspector of Transport Security.

Andrew Hughes, a career police officer with 33 years of experience, will replace Mick Palmer AO APM whose current term expires on 7 June 2012 after almost eight years of service.

Prior to taking up his post with the United Nations in New York and after more than 30 years with the Australian Federal Police, Mr Hughes served as the Commissioner of the Fijian national police where he successfully reformed the organisation and then as the Australian Capital Territory's top cop.

Mr Hughes was also at the forefront of Australia's global peacekeeping efforts.  As General Manager of International and Federal Operations he oversaw the AFP's overseas operations and was involved with the UN's mission in East Timor as well as Australia's ongoing contribution to peacekeeping in Cyprus.

Mr Hughes is a recipient of the FBI Award for Exceptional Service in Public Interest.

This extensive experience both here in Australia as well as internationally makes Mr Hughes eminently qualified to be the Federal Government's chief transport security advisor.  I look forward to working with him to safeguard the traveling public and protect our vital transport infrastructure from acts of terrorism.

I would also take this opportunity to thank Mick Palmer for his life-long dedication to public service.  Since becoming Minister his practical advice and wise counsel has been indispensable.  In recent times Mr Palmer undertook the first ever review into the security of our offshore oil and gas facilities as well as contributing to global efforts to tackle piracy.

I sincerely wish him well in whatever endeavours he now chooses to pursue.