Australian Border Force

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Australian Border Force
Agency overview
Formed 1 July 2015
Preceding Agency
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Headquarters Customs House, Canberra
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Minister responsible
Agency executive
Parent department Department of Immigration and Border Protection
Australian Border Force Act 2015
Coat of Arms of Australia.svg
Parliament of Australia
An Act relating to the Australian Border Force, the Australian Border Force Commissioner and persons performing work for the Department, and for related purposes.
Citation Australian Border Force Act 2015 (Cth)
Enacted by Australian House of Representatives
Date passed 25 Mar 2015
Enacted by Australian Senate
Date passed 14 May 2015
Date of Royal Assent 20 May 2015
Date commenced 1 July 2015
Legislative history
Bill introduced in the Australian House of Representatives Australian Border Force Bill 2015
Bill citation Australian Border Force Bill 2015 (Cth)
Introduced by The Hon. Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
First reading 25 Feb 2015
Second reading 25 Mar 2015
Third reading 25 Mar 2015
Bill introduced in the Australian Senate Australian Border Force Bill 2015
First reading 25 Mar 2015
Second reading 14 May 2015
Third reading 14 May 2015
Status: In force

The Australian Border Force (abbreviated to ABF) is the Australian government agency tasked with border protection and national security duties. This agency was established on 1 July 2015 after the merger of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and some parts of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). The ABF officers are also now equipped with firearms and wear a different uniform.

It was announced on 9 May 2014 by the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison MP.[1]

"The Australian Border Force draws together the operational border, investigations, compliance, detention and enforcement functions of the two existing agencies. Policy, regulatory and corporate functions will combine within the broader department."


The ABF is the operational arm of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. It's mission is to protect Australia's border and manage the movement of people and goods across it. The ABF contributes to three national outcomes including strong national security, a strong economy and a prosperous and cohesive society. To achieve its mission the ABF structures itself into two Groups - the Operations Group and the Support Group.

The Operations Group has responsibilities for all operational activity relating to the management of travellers, goods and cargo throughout the border continuum. The Operations Group houses the enforcement functions of the ABF, including:

  • Facilitating the lawful passage of people and goods
  • Investigations, compliance and enforcement in relation to prohibited goods and immigration malpractice; and
  • Onshore detention, removals and support to regional processing arrangements.

The Support Group has responsibility for providing planning, support and specialist services to ensure operational continuity across the border continuum and the operational management responsibility for detention services management including health, detention estate management, and regional processing and settlement.[2]


The Australian Border Force has its own rank structure, from lowest to highest:

  • Border force trainee (used in college)
  • Probationary border force officer
  • Assistant border force officer 1
  • Assistant border force officer 2
  • Border force officer
  • Leading border force officer
  • Senior border force officer
  • Border force supervisor
  • Border force inspector
  • Border force superintendent
  • Commander
  • Assistant commissioner
  • Deputy commissioner
  • Commissioner

Rank Insignia

Uniformed Australian Border Force officers have their rank displayed on their shoulder epaulettes, attached to shirts, jumpers or jacket. The rank and epaulette styling keeps in line with many other law enforcement/border agencies and shares close similarities with its United Kingdom counterpart, the UK Border Force.

The ABF rank insignia's have four components placed against an ink navy coloured field:

ABF Front line Officer ranks and insignia

(commonly seen at Airports, Seaports, Border Patrol, Enforcement & Maritime Ops, Air Cargo, Container Examination Facility, Postal Exams, Detector Dog Unit.)

Rank Assistant Border Force Officer (level 1) Assistant Border Force Officer (level 2) Border Force Officer Leading Border Force Officer Senior Border Force Officer Border Force Supervisor
Australian Public Service (APS) level APS 1 APS 2 APS 3 APS 4 APS 5 APS 6
ABF Executive level ranks and insignia
Rank Border Force Inspector Border Force Superintendent Commander

(Regional Commander)

Assistant Commissioner

of the ABF

Deputy Commissioner

of the ABF

Commissioner of the ABF


Comptroller of Customs

Australian Public Service (APS) level EL 1 EL 2 SES 1 SES 2 SES 3 Department Head/CEO


An Offshore Patrol Vessel of the Customs Marine Unit in Darwin, Northern Territory

Prior to the standing up of the Australian Border Force, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service had Officers in certain operational instances where they were armed with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). These Officers were generally those that worked in Enforcement Operations, Investigations, and the Marine Unit. Since the 1st July 2015, with the creation of the Australian Border Force came a change direction and environment. The ABF has geared itself more to a law enforcement aspect to help adapt itself with the increasing threat of terrorism, on both a global and local standpoint, people smuggling, and highly organised criminal syndicates and organisations. As a result, the ABF has begun to arm trained officers to carry firearms and PPE at all major Australian international airports.

ABF Officers are supplied with current generation Glock 17 9mm semi-automatic pistol. ASP 21 inch telescopic baton, Smith & Wesson hinged handcuffs, Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) Spray.

Other areas of the ABF use other firearms. One such unit is the Marine Unit and Border Protection Command, which operates alongside with the Australian Defence Force. With this partnership ABF Officers are equipped with the same rifles that are currently in service with the Australian Defence Force, that being a F88 Austeyr, a modified Steyr AUG A1.

See also


  1. Bourke, Latika (9 May 2014). "Immigration Minister Scott Morrison announces new Australian Border Force". ABC News. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  2. "Australian Border Force: Who we are". Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Retrieved 30 May 2016.  CC-BY icon.svg This article contains quotations from this source, which is available under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence.