David Wintrip (Australia)

Master of International Customs Law and Administration – September 2013

Current Job Position: Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Officer in Charge Cairns International Airport, Queensland, Australia

While I was studying I was completing a period of capacity development in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands sponsored by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service under the Australian Government’s Foreign Aid Program.  Working as a Customs officer for many years provided me with practical experience suitable to the role but, to paraphrase a former US Secretary of Defence, “I didn’t know what I didn’t know”. Study provided a solid platform of theory on which to apply reform and modernisation of a Customs administration. I now more fully appreciate the inter-connectivity of Government and Government agency drivers, and those of trade, industry and other stakeholders, whether domestic or international.

Since returning to Australia I have moved into a senior operations management position at one of our international gateway airports at a time of significant reform of our border agencies.  The single border agency program is changing the fundamentals of how we operate pre-border, at the border and post border.  It is an exciting time and the discipline of study has helped me appreciate our reform agenda and the ensuing issues it raises in my area of responsibility from all perspectives.

The single border agency concept being adopted in Australia is not new but lessons learned from the US, UK and Canada models confirms that a one size-fits-all model will not work.  The experiences of these overseas administrations have been incorporated into the design of our reform agenda. I’m sure that once rolled out there will be valuable lessons from the Australian model that other border administrations will be able to learn from should they wish to adopt similar border reforms.