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Communique [from the Business - Government Advisory Group on National Security].
BUSINESS-GOVERNMENT ADVISORY GROUP ON NATIONAL SECURITY
The second Business-Government Advisory Group meeting was held in Canberra today. The group met to discuss national security and counter-terrorism, with a focus on the protection of critical infrastructure. Senior leaders across business and government were represented.
The meeting acknowledged that:
â¢ terrorism remains a significant threat to the safety of all Australians and to our social and economic well-being, and agreed:
- That the recent London bombings demonstrated just how real the terrorist threat is. - That it was more important than ever for Australia to continue to take all necessary steps to protect its citizens and its social and economic infrastructure
from attack. - To reinforce the resolve of business and government to work together for common outcomes to strengthen Australia’s national security.
The meeting also:
â¢ Supported recent government initiatives, including decisions to convene a special COAG meeting on counter-terrorism, to engage the Islamic community at senior levels, and to further strengthen Australia’s transport security regime and counter-terrorism laws.
â¢ Agreed that protecting places of mass gatherings of people from terrorist attack was a complex issue of the highest priority, and:
- Recognised that some businesses have already taken steps to improve security at mass gatherings. - Recognised that it was impossible to ensure people’s safety at all times and in all situations without major disruption to Australia’s social and economic life. - Supported joint efforts by the Australian Government, the States and Territories
and the transport sector to tighten further Australia’s transport security settings. - Agreed that business and government needed to work collaboratively to provide nationally consistent guidance to the owners and operators of places of mass
â¢ Agreed that a strengthened national approach to identity security would help combat terrorism and criminal activity, and underlined the importance of:
- An open and informed debate about identity issues and the linkages to existing identity security arrangements.
Business-Government Advisory Group on National Security 1 of 2
Business-Government Advisory Group on National Security 2 of 2
- Collaborative work among Commonwealth and State and Territory governments to strengthen Australia’s identity security regime, and for government and business to examine how such a regime might support business in contributing to national security.
â¢ Acknowledged the serious economic and social consequences that would result from a serious attack on Australia’s information infrastructure, and the need for business leaders to help raise awareness of the issue amongst the broader business community.
â¢ Recognised the security of Australia's transport networks and passengers is a vital component of national security, and the importance of the work undertaken by the Australian Government in enhancing aviation and maritime transport security.
â¢ Supported the Australian Government's efforts to work with the States and Territories to enhance the security of surface transport operations.
â¢ The meeting also:
- Acknowledged the importance of maintaining a legal environment conducive to business government cooperation on national security issues and agreed to work to identify remaining impediments.
- Acknowledged the possible risk that publicly available data relating to critical infrastructure could be used in the planning of a terrorist attack and supported the work being undertaken by the National Counter-Terrorism Committee to develop nationally consistent guidelines in this area. - Recognised the vital role the private security industry plays in protecting
Australia from terrorism and agreed on the importance of business and government identifying shortcomings and developing possible solutions. - Agreed to work together to improve communication between all levels of government and the business community on security issues and changes to threat
- Acknowledged the importance for businesses to respond to emergencies and have up to date contingency plans. - Resolved to conduct further analysis of suspicious financial transactions.
12 August 2005