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Speech at the launch of the Counter Terrorism Control Centre, Canberra



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ATTORNEY -GENERAL

HON ROBERT McCLELLAND MP

LAUNCH OF THE COUNTER TERRORISM

CONTROL CENTRE

AUSTRALIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE

ORGANISATION

CANBERRA

THURSDAY, 21 OCTOBER 2010

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21 October 2010

May I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land we meet on and pay my respects to

their elders, both past and present.

It is a pleasure to welcome you, Prime Minister, in the headquarters of the Australian

Security Intelligence Organisation.

It is my pleasure to also welcome Agency Heads representing key national security and

law enforcement agencies.

I would like to acknowledge the work of the staff of those agencies. You have heard about

some of their successes, but much of their work happens behind the scenes and by its

very nature will never come to public attention.

We have already heard about the threat that terrorism represents for Australia and our

people.

This threat is as real as ever - Australia and Australians remain terrorist’s targets.

Only a little over a year ago, three Australians lost their lives in the suicide bombing of the

JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta - and, as we all know, 88 Australians were killed in the

attacks in Bali in 2002.

Onshore, terrorist plots have been disrupted and there have been numerous terrorism-related arrests, and convictions, in recent years.

While there have been significant successes, those we seek to deter continue to evolve

and learn from the combined action against them. This includes an enhanced ability to

avoid detection by policing and intelligence agencies.

The lessons learned from the review of the failed attack last Christmas on Northwest

Airlines flight 253 demonstrate the need for agencies to operate seamlessly in sharing

information on terrorist methods as well as on the intentions of terrorist groups and even

individuals suspected of terrorist planning.

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21 October 2010

Accordingly, it is increasingly important that Australia’s security, intelligence and law

enforcement agencies co-operate and co-ordinate in their fight against terrorism.

Information, expertise, capability and experience cannot be used to best advantage if they

are not properly shared.

For this reason, our national security relies upon ongoing partnership within the counter-terrorism community.

Since 2007, many of the Government’s initiatives in the security and law enforcement

areas have focused on improving interoperability and cooperation between relevant

agencies - and not just in the field of counter-terrorism.

In the past year, for example, in recognition of the need to address the rapidly evolving

cyber security threat, the Government established the Cyber Security Operations Centre,

located in the Department of Defence; as well as the Computer Emergency Response

Team, located in my own Department.

In the law enforcement field, the recently established Criminal Intelligence Fusion Centre

within the Australian Crime Commission is a key part of the Government’s intelligence-led

approach to combating serious and organised crime. The Fusion Centre has a national

role to directly support the organised crime strategies of partner agencies, and will link in

with a wide range of Commonwealth and State government agencies.

The Attorney-General’s Department is also leading another joint-agency initiative, the

Countering Violent Extremism Unit, which will develop and implement policies to prevent

radicalisation and home grown terrorism.

The Government has also moved to allow ASIO to specifically investigate; collect

intelligence; and share information on people smuggling. This in turn enables ASIO to

assist its intelligence and law enforcement partners to counter threats to border security

more effectively.

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21 October 2010

The new Counter Terrorism Control Centre (CTCC) is the most recent example of the

Government’s strategic approach to improving our national security architecture.

The CTCC will play a lead role in strengthening the coordination of Australia’s counter-terrorism intelligence efforts by setting and managing counter-terrorism priorities,

identifying intelligence requirements and ensuring that the process of collecting and

distributing intelligence is fully harmonised.

It will also support the established roles of federal and state law enforcement authorities.

The Centre will, of course, be hosted by ASIO with representatives from Australia’s key

security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies including the Australian Security

Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Secret Intelligence

Service and the Defence Signals Directorate. Each of these representatives will have the

ability to reach back into their own organisations to call on expertise and marshal

capability if, and when, action is required.

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of effective co-operation between security,

intelligence and law enforcement agencies in combating terrorism and other national

security threats.

Occasions such as today are an important reminder of the role that ASIO, and its partners

in the national security and law enforcement community play in supporting Australia’s

national security objectives. By strengthening the integration of our counter terrorism

capabilities, the CTCC will improve the ability of agencies to operate against terrorism and

to detect and prevent terrorist threats to Australians and Australia’s interests.

I am confident that by providing a flexible and focused counter-terrorism capability, the

CTCC will represent a significant advance in Australia’s national security arrangements.

Thank you.