The military-style uniforms worn by Australian Border Force officials tasked with securing our borders were made almost entirely in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China.
The $6.3 million spent by the department on uniforms, name badges and helmets was a fraction of the $10 million spent creating the Australian Border Force, including sings and insignia at airports and detention centres.
The department of Immigration and Border Protection has also confirmed it spent $15,950 on hand-woven flags carrying the Australian Border Force logo, with officials insisting these were Australian made.
The rebranding has led some to accuse the department of militarising its workforce; a claim that secretary Michael Pezzullo has denied on several occasions.
Close to 20 per cent of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's senior executive ranks are now uniformed, with the majority working within the Australian Border Force.
Labor Senator Kim Carr, who asked about the uniforms at a senate estimates hearing earlier this year, said further questions need to be asked about the procurement process.
"I find it difficult to believe that the Australian textile industry does not have the capability to make uniforms for the Australian Border Force," he said.
"This is one area where you have to look at whole of life costing. We have seen this in previous military procurements where they go for the cheapest option rather than quality."
A spokeswoman for the department said the procurement sought to achieve "value for money" and complied with Australian regulations.
"All Australian Border Force uniforms are sourced through Australian suppliers, with the majority of components manufactured in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China," she said.
"The majority of the new DIBP uniform components are made overseas but are sourced through Australian companies."
When asked if the uniforms were Australian-made during senate estimates, Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg said "I think I saw a label, actually. They may have been, but I will take that on notice".
Out of the 154 senior executives within the department, 30 are now designated as uniformed officers including commissioner Quaedvlieg.
Mr Carr also raised concerns about a perceived militarisation of the department and said it was important to "maintain perspective".
Several thousand of Border Force staff have been trained to use firearms since the force was launched in mid-2015.
Earlier this year, the department approached the market for conductive energy weapons, otherwise known as stun guns or Tasers.
A spokeswoman for the department said stun guns were not currently used by staff and there was no immediate plan to acquire them.
"The department continually explores options to improve the personal defence equipment carried by some Australian Border Force officers to reduce the reliance on lethal forms of self-defence," she said.
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