Australia’s response to the threat of terrorism involves every level of government. This approach stems from an understanding that national security is not a simply policy problem. Terrorists rely on surprise to achieve their aims and present a constantly changing threat.
The Australian response to terrorism combines the creation of effective laws and collection of intelligence, with national defence, law enforcement, aviation and maritime security, border control, protective security, preventative health measures, emergency response and consequence managing, the protection of public and private infrastructure, planning and testing responses and enhancing national and international co-operation.
Following the Hilton Hotel Bombing in Sydney in 1978, the then-Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, announced the establishment of a committee which would include Commonwealth and state andterritory agencies whose principal aim would be to establish a set of national arrangements and agreements to respond to threats or acts of politically motivated violence. The Standing Advisory Committee on Commonwealth and State Cooperation for Protection Against Violence (SAC-PAV) held its first meeting in February 1979.
The National Counter-Terrorism Committee (NCTC) was established by the Inter-Governmental Agreement 24 October signed by the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers on 24 October 2002, and held its first meeting on 13-15 November 2002.
The role of the NCTC is to contribute to the security of the Australian community through coordination of a nation-wide cooperative framework to counter terrorism and its consequences. The committee now meets twice a year with representatives from the Australian Government and state and territory governments. View the NCTC's Terms of Reference.
The Australian Government is represented by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Chair), the Attorney-General's Department, the Department of Transport and Regional Services, the Australian Federal Police, ASIO, the Department of Defence, the Department of Finance and Administration, Emergency Management Australia and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. State and territory representatives include senior officials of the Premiers' and Chief Ministers' departments, and deputy police commissioners. Senior New Zealand representatives attend the meetings as observers.
The objectives of the NCTC are to contribute to the security of the Australian community through:
The work of the NCTC is largely carried out by various sub-committees and working groups.
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet provides the NCTC with executive and secretariat support. The Protective Security Coordination Centre in the Attorney-General's Department manages the NCTC budget, equipment, training and exercise programs.
The NCTC is based on national cooperation and it has established nationwide capabilities in such areas as crisis and consequence management, command and control, intelligence, bomb response, technical support, bomb scene examination, negotiation, VIP protection, police tactical response and media cooperation.
The NCTC has well-tested, cooperative plans between the Australian Government and states and territories to handle incidents or threats. These combine the efforts of Australian and state and territory governments and all law enforcement, security, intelligence and emergency service agencies. The NCTP outlines responsibilities, authorities and the mechanisms to prevent, or if they occur, manage acts of terrorism and their consequences within Australia.
The National Counter-Terrorism Plan (NCTP) outlines responsibilities, authorities and the mechanisms to prevent, or if they occur manage, acts of terrorism and their consequences within Australia.