Department of Home Affairs
On 20 December 2017, the Department of Home Affairs was established as a part of the Home Affairs Portfolio. The Department of Home Affairs continues to deliver immigration and customs border policy functions previously delivered by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. It also includes national security from the Attorney-General’s Department; the Office of Transport Security from the former Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development; multicultural affairs from the Department of Social Services; and the counter-terrorism coordination and cyber security policy functions from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
From 1 July 2022, under Administrative Arrangement Orders made on 1 June 2022, protective security services and criminal law enforcement policy functions transferred from the Department of Home Affairs to the Attorney-General’s Portfolio.
On 1 September 2022, emergency management also transferred from the Department of Home Affairs to the new National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). NEMA also performs functions from the former National Recovery and Resilience Agency.
The Australian Border Force remains within the Department of Home Affairs. However, it has been operationally independent since its establishment on 1 July 2015.
Department of Immigration and Border Protection
The Department of Immigration, as it was initially called, was established by Ben Chifley, Australia's 16th prime minister, on 13 July 1945. At that time, Australia had a population of some seven million people and was just emerging from World War II.
The new Department took over all the functions of the immigration branch of the Department of the Interior. With many immigration branch personnel still on active service, the Department began with just 24 officers—six in Canberra, six in Melbourne and 12 in London.
During the 70th anniversary commemorative conference,
Customs and Immigration: past reflections and future directions, held on 26 June 2015, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Peter Dutton MP and the Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Mr Michael Pezzullo, launched a historical publication to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Immigration. A History of the Department of Immigration – Managing Migration to Australia provides a brief history of the Department including key events, highlights and challenges relating to immigration to Australia and the people who worked for the Department.
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) began in 1901 as the Department of Trade and Customs. We supported the economic prosperity of Australia by being at the forefront of establishing international standards for customs and trade functions.
On 1 July 2015, the ACBPS integrated with the existing Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service was formally disestablished on this date. However, its functions and services continued to be performed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The Australian Border Force is the operational arm.