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Criminal Record Sharing Between Australia, New Zealand To Be Extended
Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-11/15/c_131976582.htm
Source Date: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government
Country: New Zealand
Created: Nov 15, 2012

WELLINGTON, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- A scheme to share criminal records between New Zealand and the Australian state of Queensland has been extended after a successful six-month trial, and would be rolled out across Australia, New Zealand Justice Minister Judith Collins announced Thursday.

Collins and Australian Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice Jason Clare had agreed to extend the trial due to end in December this year to July 2013.

The trial followed an agreement reached in January between the prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand to improve the exchange of criminal history information for employers.

Collins said in a statement that the Queensland trial formed part of a wider program of reciprocal information sharing to support border control and law enforcement, consistent with the free movement of people across the Tasman.

"Both governments are working toward a more automated process and are considering how this arrangement can be extended to criminal history information requests from employers across Australia and New Zealand," Collins said.

The closeness of the two countries made it easy for criminals to move between the two countries, Clare said in the statement.

The trial allowed Queensland and New Zealand employers to request criminal history checks on behalf of potential employees.

"The trial is progressing well and will continue to help employers to make decisions about who they hire and will protect our communities from people who may pose a risk," Clare said.

On Monday, law enforcement agencies in New Zealand and Australia signed an agreement to help police on both sides share information on organized crime.

Australian Crime Commission chief executive John Lawler and New Zealand Police Commissioner Peter Marshall signed a memorandum of understanding in Wellington to expand trans-Tasman cooperation.
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