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Carriage of firearms at Sydney 2000 Games.
20 July 2000
CARRIAGE OF FIREARMS AT SYDNEY 2000 GAMES
There has been a number of confusing media reports about the carriage of firearms by foreign security personnel during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Australia has a longstanding policy regarding carriage of firearms by foreign security personnel. Responsibility for security rests with the relevant Australian authorities. It is their role and responsibility to ensure that protective security for dignitaries and athletes is fully effective. Foreign security officials have no operational role in Australia.
The policy has served Australia well over many years, and has been endorsed by successive Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments. After consultation with the States, it has been agreed that the policy will not be changed for the Games.
Primary responsibility for security of the Games and for the protection of dignitaries and athletes rests with the New South Wales Police Service. The Commonwealth has broad security responsibility for gathering and disseminating security and criminal intelligence, border control, aviation security, counter-terrorism, dignitary protection and enforcement of Federal law. In terms of carriage of firearms by foreign security officials, importation is a matter for the Commonwealth, and licensing is a matter for the local State jurisdiction, in this case NSW.
Australia’s firearms policy will come as no surprise to countries participating in the Sydney 2000 Games. Over a number of years,
Australian agencies have explained and reinforced the roles and responsibilities of foreign security personnel during the Games to many participating countries. These briefings have included the strict conditions that surround firearms in Australia.
No foreign government nor national Olympic committee of any foreign country has made any formal approach to the Commonwealth for exemptions to the carriage of firearms regulations, or sought permission to import firearms.
The Commonwealth Government is committed to world class security for the Games and is assisting NSW Police with security arrangements for the Games. Our two governments are confident that security preparations are world class and have the endorsement of the International Olympic Committee.
On Monday 24 July, I will be addressing the Dignitary and Athlete Protection Olympic Conference in Sydney. This conference, a joint Commonwealth/NSW initiative, has been organised to provide a comprehensive briefing to foreign security personnel on arrangements to protect their dignitaries and athletes at Games time. I will take the opportunity to stress again the firm Australian position on non-carriage of firearms.
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