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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4450 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The NCTC's efforts in developing a national framework for the protection of critical infrastructure were welcomed.

COAG endorsed the NCTC's development of guidelines for the protection of critical infrastructure, including establishing criteria to identify critical infrastructure and outline security measures at each level of alert. COAG reinforced the need for a cooperative approach between governments and industry in relation to this task.

Deficiencies in the protection of some hazardous materials were also noted and COAG agreed to a national review of the regulation, reporting and security around the storage, sale and handling of hazardous materials. The review will include relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory agencies in consultation with the NCTC, and will report to COAG.

COAG also agreed to provide additional funding to enhance national counterterrorism capability. This money will be used to upgrade communication systems, supply counter-terrorism equipment to State and Territory police and to provide opportunities for agencies involved in the prevention of terrorism and those involved in crisis and consequence management arrangements and capabilities, to work more closely together.

States and Territories agreed to provide funding of $4.3 million up front and $0.8 million on an ongoing basis for equipment purchases and maintenance. The Commonwealth agreed to provide funding of $10.4 million initially and $7.6 million on an ongoing basis for communications upgrade and an exercise regime. COAG also noted that security at regional and metropolitan general aviation airports will be subject to ongoing review by relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory authorities.

In relation to handguns, COAG agreed to a national approach. Handgun availability and use will be restricted, particularly in relation to concealable weapons. There will be will be a major reduction in the number of handguns in the community and significantly strengthened controls over access to handguns.

COAG endorsed the 28 resolutions made by the Australasian Police Ministers' Council and agreed that legislative and administrative measures to implement the resolutions should be in place by 30 June 2003.

The resolutions which were endorsed covered a system of graduated access to handguns for legitimate sporting shooters, based on training, experience and event participation.

It is proposed that shooting clubs will have greater access to information on prospective members, with prospective members being required to produce a police clearance prior to acceptance as a member. Information on other shooting clubs a prospective member belongs to, and current ownership of firearms will also be available.

The Commissioner of Police in each jurisdiction will, subject to appropriate safeguards, be able to refuse and revoke firearms licences and applications on the basis of criminal intelligence and other relevant information.

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