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Monday, 4 September 2006
Page: 151

Senator Ludwig asked the Minister for Justice and Customs, upon notice, on 10 May 2006:

With reference to the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) 2004-05 annual report, where on page 79 it is indicated that throughout the 2004-05 financial year the level of security risk to the ACC remained as ‘major’, requiring senior management attention to be given to vulnerable areas of the agency in accordance with Commonwealth standards:

(1)   Why was the level of security risk judged to be ‘major’ during the 2004-05 financial year.

(2)   Has it always been at this level since the creation of the ACC; if so, why; if not, can a timeline indicating the different levels of risk for the ACC be provided.

(3) (a)   What are the other levels; and (b) will the level of security risk ever be below ‘major’ for the ACC.

Senator Ellison (Minister for Justice and Customs) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

(1)   The new PSM 2005 no longer prescribes and defines specific security risk levels using the terms “SIGNIFICANT” and “MAJOR”. The equivalent terms, under the same definitions, are “MEDIUM” risk and “HIGH” risk. Consequently, since May 2003, the ACC was redefined from “MAJOR” to a “HIGH” level of security risk. This remained in force until the November 2005 review. The November 2005 review considered that the number and significance of security threats to the ACC and its staff had steadily decreased to the point where the risk rating to the ACC was revised down from a rating of “HIGH” to a rating of “MEDIUM”. This is the same basic level as assessed to all Australian Government Agencies.

(2)   No. When the ACC was formed in January 2003, the ACC inherited the “level of security risk” from the former National Crime Authority (NCA) at the “SIGNIFICANT” level. This was reviewed in May 2003 and raised from “SIGNIFICANT” to “MAJOR” as defined by the PSM 2000. In November 2005 this was reassessed and was downgraded to “MEDIUM”. This is reassessed annually, normally in the last quarter.

(3) (a)   The levels described in the PSM 2005 are; EXTREME, HIGH, MEDIUM and LOW. (b) The Security risk level is reassessed annually; hence we are not able to say if the level of security risk will ever be below “MEDIUM” for the ACC.