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Strengthening counter-terrorism capabilities in Victoria and New South Wales.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON DARYL WILLIAMS AM QC MP

NEWS RELEASE

Media Contact:

23 September 2003 111/03

STRENGTHENING COUNTER-TERRORISM CAPABILITIES IN VICTORIA AND NEW SOUTH WALES

New South Wales and Victoria will have better resources to deal with the consequences of chemical, biological or radiological (CBR) incidents with today’s delivery of $1.8 million of new equipment from the Australian Government.

Victoria and NSW are the first two States to receive the equipment, which includes chemical protection suits, specialist breathing systems, equipment to detect chemicals, radiation and bio-terrorism agents. Other support material includes high resolution digital still and video cameras for forensic investigation.

While States and Territories have front line responsibility for emergency response, we must all work together to protect the Australian community.

It is in this spirit that, in the 2002-03 Budget, the Australian Government committed $17.8 million over four years to enhance the capacity of all States and Territories to deal with the consequences of CBR incidents.

Today’s delivery is part of the first tranche of equipment, worth about $900,000 for each State and Territory. It is just one of many examples of the Australian Government’s commitment to close and effective cooperation with the States and Territories on matters of national security and disaster management.

In Victoria, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, the Country Fire Authority, Victoria Police, the Department of Human Services and the Environmental Protection Authority will now have better tools to deal with CBR incidents.

And in New South Wales, the Department of Health, the Ambulance Service of NSW, NSW Fire Brigades and NSW Police will be better prepared for such incidents.

The Australian Government has established a national CBR working group with representatives from all States and Territories, chaired by Emergency Management Australia, a division of the Attorney-General’s Department. This group’s recommendations ensure that the most appropriate equipment is provided and that there is consistent capability across all States and Territories.

All jurisdictions have signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Australian Government regarding long-term provision of this equipment. The equipment remains the property of the Australian Government and the States and Territories will be responsible for its storage, allocation and use.

Carina Tan-Van Baren (Mr Williams) (02) 6277 7300/ 0419 423 965 Brian Flanagan (EMA) 0409 489 344

www.law.gov.au/ag

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The Australian Government will provide $30,000 annually to assist with the maintenance and repair of the equipment. The program will be reviewed at the end of the 2005-06 financial year.