D81
21 November 1996

OPENING OF AUSTRALIA'S LARGEST PASSPORT OFFICE



The largest single passport office in Australia -- expected to process around 200,000 passports a year -- was officially opened by the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Andrew Thomson, in Sydney today.

Located in the Capital Centre in Pitt Street, the new office will have a staff of 60.

Mr Thomson commented at the opening that the progressive introduction of new technology over recent years had moved Australia to the cutting edge of world passport technology.

"State of the art laser printing, which digitises in colour on the back of the passport laminate the photograph and signature of the bearer, makes it virtually impossible to tamper with the Australian passport," Mr Thomson said.

Mr Thomson said management practices had led to a marked increase in staff productivity in the handling of passports, while the public was also being better catered for by the introduction of a simplified application form for passport renewals.

The new office is an amalgamation of an office, which previously existed in the Capital Centre, with a processing centre located at Parramatta.

Leases of both premises were to expire this year and a decision was made to combine the offices to improve productivity and client servicing.

For further information, please contact Anthony Taylor, Media Liaison Section,
DFAT on (06) 261 1555.