A massive airport security shake-up will see baggage handlers, caterers, engineers and maintenance crews face random screening for explosives, although some fear the measures will be inadequate.
Transport Minister Darren Chester yesterday announced the Turnbull government would also be tightening up security at Australian airports with tighter access controls and additional security awareness training.
"Airport workers, together with their vehicles and belongings, will be randomly selected for explosive trace detection testing and other screening when entering or working in secure airside areas at major airports," he said in a statement.
"Other measures being introduced include stronger access controls and additional security awareness training for aviation workers."
It comes as the Transport Workers Union lobbied alongside pilots and terrorism experts for extra security screenings of employees, including sub-contractors and casuals.
However Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has called the changes – which are to be rolled out gradually - a "joke", instead calling for a US model to be adopted across Aussie airport security.
"Most Australians will be shocked to find out that while passengers and pilots are screened before going into secure areas, baggage handlers, catering and ground service staff with Aviation Security Identification cards are not," he said.
"If it is good enough for pilots and passengers it should be good enough for everyone. In countries like the US, all airport staff are required to be screened. Our government's approach to random inspections is a joke.
"Systems of checking can be easily bypassed. People with evil intent can be tipped off by mates and avoid random screening."