Coalition of Australian Governments (COAG) Co-operating on Protection of Crowded Places

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COAG focuses on protecting public spaces
COAG focuses on protecting public spaces

AT the Coalition of Australian Government (COAG) meeting in Tasmania June 9, leaders discussed current and emerging security risks, reaffirming their commitment to working collaboratively to strengthen Australia’s public defences and responses.

Leaders noted the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee is developing a Strategy for the Protection of Crowded Places from Terrorism and agreed that close cooperation between all levels of government and with the private sector is critical to preserving public enjoyment of these places.

Last year, the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) launched a set of guidelines (view and download here) for Government and business to help protect Australians from the threat that improvised explosive (IED) devices pose in places of mass gathering. 

The guidelines were developed to reduce the vulnerability to the threat of terrorism and are targeted to owners and operators of places of mass gatherings to raise their awareness of the threat IED incidents pose. They also provide guidance on the issues and options to consider during risk mitigation and contingency planning activities.

Further work by ANZCTC is likely to cover mitigating attacks using vehicles, as well as low-tech attacks of a type becoming more common overseas. While security upgrades at major venues, including CCTV and barriers, were reported to be on the agenda at COAG, there’s been no official comment on these areas. 

COAG discussed practical steps all governments can take to strengthen the cyber security of public and private IT systems in the context of the WanaCry ransomware campaign.

First ministers agreed that they will ensure there will be a presumption that neither bail nor parole will be granted to those persons who have demonstrated support for, or have links to, terrorist activity. They also agreed that they would reconvene as soon as practicable at a special COAG to fully and more comprehensively review the nation’s laws and practices directed at protecting Australians from violent extremism.

Further, COAG agreed that there will be integration of security-cleared state and territory corrections staff with the state and territory police, AFP and ASIO Joint Counter-Terrorism Team in each jurisdiction to improve information sharing. ♦