Page 3144 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 24 August 2005

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Counter-terrorism planning

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Chief Minister. What security arrangements has the government put in place to protect the community in the event of a terrorist incident?

MR STANHOPE: This is a most important and serious issue. The national arrangements that the ACT has put in place and that are part of the fabric of counter-terrorism measures in the ACT concern the ACT’s counter-terrorism arrangements as such which form part of the national counter-terrorism arrangements which are detailed in the counter-terrorism plan and are consistent with the arrangements in all the states and the Northern Territory. The plan is available on the national security web site at National security awareness campaign posters with the message “Help protect Australia from terrorism: every piece of information helps” and the national security hotline number have been distributed to and are displayed in all ACT government agencies.

The structures that underpin the ACT arrangements involve a whole-of-government counter-terrorism policy and coordination is overseen by the security subcommittee of cabinet, which comprises the Chief Minister and the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. The security subcommittee is supported by the security coordination executive committee, which comprises the chief executives of the Chief Minister’s Department and the Department of Justice and Community Safety, the commissioner of the Emergency Services Authority and the ACT’s NCTC members, the deputy chief executive officer of JACS and the Chief Police Officer.

There is also an ad hoc security working group, comprising senior officials from JACS, ACT Policing and the ESA, which deals with the day-to-day development, implementation and review of counter-terrorism policy and arrangements, and a security in government committee comprising senior officials from each ACT government agency responsible for protective security matters. These structures are supported by the security coordination unit in JACS.

The emergency management committee addresses all aspects of emergency management, including counter-terrorism related incidents, and has close links to other jurisdictions and the Australian government through the Australian emergency management committee. The emergency management committee comprises senior officials from all relevant government agencies and observers from key utility owners and operators. It is supported by the Emergency Services Authority.

As to arrangements in the event of a major incident in the ACT, all ACT government agencies work cooperatively to plan for and, if necessary, deal with any counter-terrorism or related incident. Mutual assistance is also available from all other jurisdictions and the Australian government as part of the national counter-terrorism arrangements. The territory crisis centre will be established within JACS to support the ACT crisis policy committee, comprising ministers and senior executives, in the overall coordination of a major incident, including public information and media arrangements.

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