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Special COAG meeting on counter-terrorism.



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PRIME MINISTER

SPECIAL COAG MEETING ON COUNTER-TERRORISM

Following the successful meeting today of the Council of Australian Governments’ meeting (COAG) to discuss national counter-terrorism arrangements, I am pleased to announce that the Australian Government will commit about $40 million in additional funding for a range of measures to deliver increased safety and security to all Australians.

These initiatives will complement the important measures announced jointly with my State and Territory colleagues as a result of today’s special COAG meeting.

These measures are in addition to the Government’s recent commitment of $200 million to further tighten security at Australia’s major airports in response to the Wheeler Report.

The initiatives I announce today include:

• $17.3 million over five years to establish an Australian Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Data Centre located within the Australian Federal Police (AFP);

• $2.4 million over five years to support the establishment of a Chemical Warfare Agents Laboratory Network, which will provide a network of laboratories across Australia for the analysis of chemical agents;

• $9.2 million over four years for the enhancement of Australia’s national counter-terrorism exercise regime - the enhanced programme will provide a greater focus on exercising Australia’s ability to manage mass casualty incidents, particularly in places such as major city precincts and transport hubs;

• $1.3 million over four years to support the development of a national strategy to explain to the public, through a set of clear, concise messages, the arrangements set out in the National Counter-Terrorism Plan and improved, centralised communication with the media during a crisis;

• $5.9 million in 2005-06 to support the development of a national action plan to build on the principles agreed at my recent meeting with Islamic community leaders and to undertake a range of related work including Muslim community liaison, community partnership projects, a national youth summit and leadership and media training;

• $1 million over three years for Commonwealth aspects of the implementation of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee’s review of urban mass passenger surface transport security arrangements; and

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• $700,000 to assist Commonwealth participation in the National Counter-Terrorism Committee review of closed circuit television capability and development of a national code of practice.

Further, the COAG has agreed to establish a unified policing model at each of the 11 counter-terrorism first response (CTFR) airports including: an Airport Police Commander, a dedicated Joint Intelligence Group, a CTFR capability and a permanent community policing presence, and at each of the major international airports (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide), a Joint Airport Investigation Team.

The Australian Government has agreed to fully fund under the unified model a full-time community policing presence of AFP officers wearing AFP uniforms and under AFP command at all major Australian airports, with officers seconded or recruited from State and Territory police forces. The funding details for this initiative will be settled and announced shortly.

I thank the States and Territories for their continuing commitment and cooperation in keeping our community safe from terrorism.

27 September 2005