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 Frequently asked questions

Is a terrorist attack likely in Australia?

Yes, we assess that a terrorist attack in Australia is PROBABLE.

We know about a small number of individuals in Australia and abroad, who want to cause us harm. We know that some will or are being seduced by the extremist propaganda of ISIL. Unfortunately we fear some individuals will probably seek to undertake acts of terror here.

Find out more about the National Terrorism Threat Advisory System.

What does the threat level mean for me?

Unless government authorities tell you otherwise, there is no need to change how you go about your daily business. But it is a reminder of the environment we are now in and the threat we face. It is important to keep yourself aware of the advice on the current level of threat and keep up to date with advice from local authorities.

You should continue to exercise caution and report any suspicious incidents to the National Security Hotline on 1800 1234 00 or in an emergency, call 000.

Find out more about the National Terrorism Threat Advisory System.

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Is the threat level ever likely to go down?

The National Terrorism Threat Level is set from intelligence. If the level of threat is assessed as being lower, the Government will announce the change.

However, this is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Unfortunately we are now living in a heightened threat environment that is expected to last for some time.

Find out more about the National Terrorism Threat Advisory System.

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What should we do if the threat level is raised again?

It’s important to remember that every situation is going to be unique.

If the level changes you will be provided with advice what the threat level means, where the threat is coming from, potential targets and the means by which a terrorist act may be perpetrated.

Find out more about the National Terrorism Threat Advisory System.

What is being done to protect Australia from terrorism?

Ensuring a safe and secure Australia is the first priority for all Australian governments.

A range of measures have been put in place to reduce the threat of terrorism in Australia but a significant threat remains.

Our security and law enforcement agencies are engaged in disruption efforts to prevent or mitigate against attacks but we have to be prepared for the fact that we might not detect all threats in time.

The Australian Government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, together with our international partners are actively working to counter-terrorism domestically and internationally.

Australia’s current counter-terrorism capabilities are sophisticated and well tested.

The government has recently introduced new national security legislation.

Australia has a National Counter-Terrorism Plan in place. It details how Australian, state and territory governments and national security agencies will work together to detect, prevent and respond to terrorism.

Australia's Counter-Terrorism Strategy outlines the current terrorist threat that Australia is facing, and what our governments are doing to counter it. It focusses on five core elements: challenging violent extremist ideologies, stopping people from becoming terrorists, shaping the global environment to counter terrorism, disrupting terrorist activity within Australia and having effective responses and recovery should an attack occur.

A full list of national security agencies and their responsibilities is available.

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How will I be kept informed about Australia's national security?

The Australian Government will keep all Australians informed about what is being done to protect Australia through public statements and this website.

In an emergency situation, follow the instructions of authorities.

Any change to the National Terrorism Threat Level will be announced by the Australian Government based on advice from the Director-General of ASIO, with advice to the public about what it means for them.

Information on the current level, including public advice on the nature of the threat and what it means for all Australians is available on the National Terrorism Threat Advisory System page.

 

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Should I stay away from sporting and music events or change my domestic holiday plans?

There is no reason for any of us to stay away from public places or change our normal routines or domestic holiday plans. Australian governments work closely with police and event organisers across Australia so the community can enjoy themselves in a safe and secure environment.

It is essential that we do not allow the threat of terrorism to change the way of life we value so highly.

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Is it safe to travel overseas? Are other countries experiencing an increased threat

The situation in Syria and Iraq has increased global concern about terrorism, but this should not stop people from travelling for work or holidays where it is safe to do so.

For the latest international travel advice and to register you travel plans, go to the smartraveller.gov.au website.

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What is going to happen at airports? Is it safe to fly on a plane?

The current threat level means that you may continue to see  increased security at airports and other transport hubs. Travellers should be mindful of this when making plans.

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Am I going to see more physical security in my day to day life?

The current threat level means that in some places you might continue see a heightened level of security. These measures are designed to protect the public.

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I have a small business. Where can I get more information?

More information about security and your business is available from the Information for business page.

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What can we do as a community?

This is an opportunity for us to live safe together as a community. All Australians have a role to play in making sure that Australia continues to be a safe place to live and visit. Visit the Living Safe Together website for more information about communities.

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What if I know or see something and I want to tell authorities about it?

The Australian community is the most important partner for governments in countering terrorism.

Members of the public can assist authorities to keep Australia safe by reporting suspicious behaviour or activity to the National Security Hotline on 1800 1234 00. You can remain anonymous.

In an emergency you should call 000.

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I work in the industry sector, is there anything I should do?

The Australian Government has published the National Guidelines for the Protection of Critical Infrastructure from Terrorism, including a guide of security measures to consider in relation to changes in the security situation, which should be used as a basis for your security plans.

If your organisation has been identified as critical infrastructure or a place of mass gathering in your state or territory, you should ensure that your security plans are up to date and that the counter terrorism unit within your police service has your current contact details (including for after hours).

Organisations in the aviation, maritime and offshore oil and gas sectors regulated by the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development will be provided with additional advice.

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How likely is a chemical, biological or radiological attack by terrorists?

The current advice from official intelligence services is that the likelihood of this kind of terrorist attack in Australia is low.

Health authorities and emergency services have detailed plans in place to deal with such a situation and treat those affected.

In a chemical, biological or radiological incident, the most important thing to remember is to minimise your exposure, then watch your television or listen to your radio and wait for emergency services to tell you what to do.

Stockpiles of antibiotics, vaccines, anti-viral drugs and chemical antidotes are in place.

The Australian Government Department of Health has health advice and more information about Australia’s preparations for health emergencies.

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What can I do to protect myself and others at work?

Make sure you are familiar with the emergency and evacuation plans for your workplace. If you are unsure, ask your supervisor.

Attend an accredited first aid course.

If you run a business or manage a large building, review your security measures. You should also review your emergency and evacuation plans. Rehearse them, update if necessary, and make sure every member of your staff knows what to do.

Keep a careful check on garages and underground car parks so that you know whose vehicles are on your premises.

If you have security cameras, make sure they are working properly, check that the time and date are correct, and retain the recordings in case they might be of use to police in the future.

A number of useful resources for owners and operators of places of mass gathering are available on the Publications page.

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What if my children become concerned or anxious about terrorism?

Talk with your children about what is happening and what is being done to protect them. Encourage them to say how they feel.

Be honest about things being discussed in the media and in your community.

If anyone in your family becomes anxious to a point where it starts interfering with daily life, consult a health professional.

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How many reports have been made to the National Security Hotline?

The National Security Hotline has received over 230,000 reports since it was established in December 2002. For monthly report numbers since July 2014, see the National Security Hotline statistics page.

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