Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3814 ..
Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, I have a point of order. I understand that Mr Pratt asked a question very much like this last week. Therefore, it has probably already been answered.
Mrs Cross: It is not the same question. It is a different question, and it relates to a story in this morning's paper. I think you need to check Hansard.
MR SPEAKER: I do not recall the Pratt question, so I will allow the question.
MR QUINLAN: I will start again. Members will be aware that very recently the federal minister Chris Ellison announced that there was credible information on a possible terrorist attack in Australia in the next couple of months. While the threat is not specific-and Senator Ellison has said it is not specific-as to possible targets, it is nevertheless taken seriously and is one that should be taken seriously by all of the community.
The ACT government is acutely aware of the threat of terrorist attack, particularly since the Bali bombing of October 12. As a consequence, the government has established a working group comprising senior officers from the AFP, Emergency Services Bureau, Chief Minister's Department and the Department of Justice and Community Safety.
This has been established. Its role is to identify risks and to examine the security of critical infrastructure such as electricity, gas, water supply, telecommunications, the hospitals and the protection of people at major public venues. This group met last on November 8, and one of its actions was to seek from heads of departments and agencies urgent advice on security and infrastructure issues affecting individual agencies.
This morning I instructed that the working group reconvene again as soon as possible in response to the latest alert, to examine if further action needs to be taken to protect the ACT. The working group has also had a close and cooperative relationship with federal security agencies, who provide advice and assistance.
For some time now, the Australian Federal Police has been operating in a heightened state of alert, as a direct result of the global terrorist situation. In response to the latest information, the AFP further enhanced security measures. ACT Police members have been put into that heightened state of vigilance. The police operations centre is in a state of immediate activation in the event of any terrorist incident in the ACT.
An ACT police and security committee has been established to monitor response capacity and measures, including reviewing assessments in relation to major events and other at-risk community gatherings.
The next phase of the specialist security and response team's development training will be completed on 13 December of this year. It will increase the specialist counterterrorist response capacity in the ACT from the present 34 members to 44 full-time members.
AFP national is also hosting a visit to Canberra by three antiterrorist specialist officers from New Scotland Yard for a period of three months. ACT Policing will draw on this expertise to provide advice on any additional measures that should be employed to