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Improving security within Government.



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Budget 2001-2002 22 May 2001

IMPROVING SECURITY WITHIN GOVERNMENT

The 2001-2002 Budget includes an extra $12.0 million over four years to enable the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Attorney-General’s Department to undertake security improvements and to enhance security practices.

ASIO will use the money to assist Government Departments and agencies to improve the security of sensitive information that they hold. The Attorney-General’s Department will use the money to enhance its security practices.

The tighter security measures are in line with recommendations from the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Mr Bill Blick, to combat espionage. The Inspector-General was commissioned by the Prime Minister to undertake a review of security procedures following the 1999 arrest of a former Defence Intelligence Organisation officer, Jean-Philippe Wispelaere, on charges of attempting to sell highly classified material.

The Inspector-General recommended improved security procedures for Departments that handle highly classified material and our six intelligence and security agencies - the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO), Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO) and Office of National Assessments (ONA).

ASIO’s increased funding will allow it to contribute to:

Enhanced security coordination arrangements between Australian intelligence community members. ●

Coordination of improved personnel security practices. ● Enhanced computer security. ● Improved physical security arrangements. ● A trial of the polygraph to evaluate its potential as a personnel security tool. ●

Because of the sensitive nature of many of the measures, the Government will not provide further details on the recommendations. This is in keeping with the practice of successive Governments not to comment on intelligence and security matters.

The Government is committed to protecting Australia’s national security and is confident that these measures will improve the security of the more sensitive information held by Government agencies.

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