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Immigration and Customs merger can’t prove promised benefits

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The benefits of the merger of the Immigration and Customs departments and creation of Australian Border Force  haven’t been proven and promised increased revenue hasn’t materialised, a damning audit report has found.

While the Department of Immigration and Border Protection did achieve the merger effectively, it “is not in a position to provide the government with assurance that the claimed benefits of integration have been achieved,” the report said.

There was no evidence Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton received written briefings on progress of the merger.

There was no evidence Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton received written briefings on progress of the merger.

Photo: Justin McManus

The merger of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service took place in 2015, with its functions now covered under the Department of Home Affairs. Controversial at the time, it heralded a move to focus more on guarding the country’s borders over resettlement and migration.

In the business case for the merger, the department committed to a “Benefits Realisation Plan,” but because the plan was not implemented, the claimed benefits have not been measured and can’t be demonstrated, the report said.

While the business case for the integration of the departments promised an increase in revenue from customs duty, less than half of the promised revenue increase has materialised. At the end of 2017, just 42.2 per cent of the extra revenue committed to had been achieved, and the report predicted that at the current rate just 31.6 per cent of the additional revenue promised would be delivered.

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