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Australia's largest counter-terrorism excercise begins.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON ROBERT McCLELLAND MP

NEWS RELEASE

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600  Telephone (02) 6277 7300  Fax (02) 6273 4102 www.attorneygeneral.gov.au

14 October 098/2008

AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST COUNTER -TERRORISM EXERCISE BEGINS

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today announced that Australia’s largest ever multi-jurisdictional counter-terrorism exercise Mercury 08 has commenced.

“Mercury 08 is designed to enhance Australia’s capacity to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from multiple threats or acts of terrorism,” Mr McClelland said.

“Over the next four days, our security and policing agencies will be put to the test by simulated terrorist attacks in Queensland and Western Australia.”

Mercury 08 will involve the Prime Minister, the Queensland and Western Australian Premiers, as well as Federal and State government departments, security agencies, law enforcement personnel, crisis coordination units, and emergency management teams.

The Commonwealth’s National Security Committee of Cabinet will also meet during the exercise to be briefed on the latest developments and make decisions about the Australian Government’s response to the exercise.

Mercury 08 takes into account the current global and domestic security environment, and will robustly test whole-of-government decision-making, information sharing, intelligence management, critical infrastructure protection, and airport security.

The new national counter-terrorism alert level system announced earlier this month will also be tested during the course of the exercise.

“Australia’s security arrangements are strong, but they can always be enhanced by comprehensive counter-terrorism exercises such as Mercury 08. I want to thank everyone involved in the exercise. Their work will help make Australia safer,” Mr McClelland said.

Media Contact: Adam Sims 02 6277 7300 or 0419 480 224.