Skip to main content

Australian National Security
You are here > > Skip breadcrumbAustralian National Security > > What Australia is doing > > States and territories

 States and territories

State and territory governments:

  • maintain policies, legislation and plans within their jurisdictions
  • maintain counter-terrorism and consequence-management capabilities within their relevant agencies
  • have primary operational responsibility for responding to a terrorist situation in their jurisdiction
  • determine prevention strategies and operational responses to threats, including seeking assistance from other jurisdictions
  • actively consider the requirement for the declaration of a national terrorist situation
  • in a national terrorist situation, contribute to the national strategy.

Dangerous goods and work cover agencies maintain standards for the security and transport of dangerous substances.

Emergency services provide consequence management in the event of a terrorist incident, consistent with state and territory plans and structures.

Engineering services/public works departments assist the recovery of physical infrastructure.

Premiers' or Chief Ministers' departments coordinate the whole-of-government response and preparedness.

Health departments help develop and maintain biological hazard plans, provide hospital treatment and on-going care for victims.

Police have operational responsibility for preventing, responding to and investigating terrorist activity, threats and incidents.

Welfare agencies assist community recovery through the provision of emergency and ongoing welfare assistance.

Click on the state or territory link below for more detailed information on counter-terrorism arrangements in that jurisdiction and for links to information from that government.

Australian Capital Territory

Counter-terrorism arrangements in the ACT

ACT procedures for the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from a threat or an actual terrorist incident are detailed in a series of multi-agency plans, which are constantly reviewed and tested through extensive exercise and policy review mechanisms.

The ACT has established the Security and Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) of Cabinet, chaired by the Chief Minister, to consider all counter terrorism and whole-of-government security and emergency management matters and to oversee the government's response to any terrorist-related incident. This Cabinet Committee is advised during a terrorism-related incident on an ongoing basis by the Security and Emergency Management Senior Officials Group (SEMSOG).

The SEMC of Cabinet is also advised on an ongoing basis by the SEMSOG, which consists of the ACT's Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) members (Director-General, Justice and Community Safety Directorate and Chief Police Officer, AFP-ACT Policing) and comprises senior officials from all directorates and agencies.

The Justice and Community Safety Directorate, Security and Emergency Management Branch (SEMB) works with all ACT Government directorates, ACT Policing, ACT stakeholders and national counterparts to coordinate a whole-of-government approach for protective security, terrorism and critical infrastructure matters.

The ACT Government Protective Security Policy Framework provides a consistent and structured approach to the management of protective security including terrorism related incidents and critical infrastructure vulnerabilities for the ACT to secure the continued delivery of ACT Government business.


  • The ACT Government website is the entry point to information and services about Canberra and the region.
  • Canberra Connect is the gateway to ACT Government services and local information.
  • ACT Policing is an arm of the Australian Federal Police.
  • The ACT Emergency Services Agency website has information on emergency services in Canberra and the surrounding region.

Back to state/territory list

New South Wales

NSW counter terrorism arrangements

The New South Wales Government has established the Cabinet Standing Committee on Counter Terrorism chaired by the Premier with key ministers to oversee and further enhance the arrangements at the state-level to deal with threats or the incidence of terrorism. The Cabinet Committee is supported by the Counter Terrorism Chief Executives Coordinating Group chaired by the Director General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet. This group provides the interface between agencies and the Cabinet Committee in developing and maintaining NSW's preparedness to prevent or respond to terrorism.

NSW incident response

In the event of a terrorist incident the State Operations Centre, comprising police and state emergency management officials, would be activated to support the Police Forward Commander, who will be in charge of the incident site.

The State Coordination Centre will be activated if there is a serious threat or actual terrorist incident. It will be the focal point for managing the policy and strategic aspects of such a situation.

The NSW arrangements recognise the primacy of the NSW Premier and ministers in respect of government responsibilities, assisted by the police and senior officials. Operating procedures are in place for dealing with events over a short or prolonged period.


  • The Secure NSW website provides information on counter terrorism arrangements in NSW, community initiatives relating to counter terrorism and relevant NSW legislation.
  • The Emergency NSW website provides information on NSW emergency management arrangements, updates on current emergency operations and links to emergency advice and information.

Back to state/territory list

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory participates in and contributes to national counter terrorism strategies and arrangements.

The Northern Territory Government has adopted a whole-of-government approach to managing the prevention of, preparation for, and response to terrorism and its consequences. This approach is based on cooperative and coordinated relationships among government departments and agencies and other relevant organisations.

The Northern Territory Government arrangements do not assume a particular terrorism event and are based on the 'all hazards' principles used for current counter disaster arrangements. The crisis and consequence management requirements of a terrorist incident will be managed using well tried and tested arrangements, supplemented by specific counter terrorism plans and procedures.

More information on the Northern Territory's counter terrorism preparedness, preparation and response arrangements can be found on the Northern Territory Government website.

Back to state/territory list


Queensland’s strategic counter-terrorism arrangements are led by the Queensland Security Cabinet Committee (QSCC). The QSCC provides a forum for leaders and officials to ensure whole-of-government coordination and leadership for Queensland’s counter-terrorism prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

The Chair of the QSCC is the Premier of Queensland. The QSCC is supported by the Queensland Security and Counter-Terrorism Committee (QSCTC), a committee of senior officials responsible for contributing to the safety and security of the Queensland community through the co-ordination of a state-wide co-operative framework to enhance national security and to counter terrorism and its consequences.

In the event of a terrorist incident, the Police Operations Centre, comprising police and relevant response agency officials, would be activated to support the Police Forward Commander, who will be in charge of the incident site. Should a significant security incident occur or is reasonably suspected, Queensland’s strategic crisis management arrangements may be activated by the Director-General, Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC) to facilitate and support a whole-of government response as required. Incidents requiring significant consequence management may also result in the activation of Queensland’s Disaster Management Arrangements to take responsibility for consequence management and recovery.

The Queensland Police Service is the lead agency within the Queensland Government for responding to terrorism threats including tactical and operational response in the event of a security or terrorism incident. A dedicated Security and Counter-Terrorism Command coordinates the QPS’ capabilities and arrangements to counter terrorism and its consequences.

Queensland’s approach to countering terrorism is outlined in the Queensland Counter-Terrorism Strategy on Safeguarding Queensland website.


Back to state/territory list

South Australia

Under the Emergency Management Act 2004, South Australia has adopted an all hazards approach to emergency management. It deals with all emergencies—terrorist and other—through the same unified framework. The South Australian Premier has overall responsibility, and meets with related ministers in the Emergency Management Council, whose function is to advise Cabinet on security and emergency matters.

The State Emergency Management Committee, whose members include chief executives of all the major public sector agencies and response services, together with local government and other representatives, provides leadership and oversight of prevention, preparation, response and recovery.

Numerous advisory groups, hazard leader organisations, functional service groups and zone emergency committees provide the means of identifying risks, preparing strategic responses, and translating them into specific action plans at the local level. The overall result constitutes the State Emergency Management Plan.

More information on South Australia's state emergency management arrangements is available on the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission website.

Back to state/territory list


In a terrorist situation or period of significant threat, the Ministerial Security Committee has ultimate responsibility for Tasmanian strategies relating to counter-terrorism.

The Chair of the Ministerial Security Committee is the Premier of Tasmania. The Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency management are permanent members of the committee.

The State Crisis Centre is activated when an incident is imminent or has already occurred.

The Tasmanian Government recognises that effective crisis management requires coordination of processes and resources from many areas of government. The Security and Emergency Management Advisory Group provides policy advice to the government, monitors state-wide security capabilities and reviews security plans and arrangements. It provides advice to the State Emergency Management Committee and also provides a link to the private sector and federal agencies.

The Special Responses and Counter Terrorism Unit, located within the Department of Police and Emergency Management, provides a focal point for strategies, activities, and projects involving counter-terrorism.

Further information is available on the TasALERT website.

Back to state/territory list


The State Crisis and Resilience Council (SCRC) is Victoria's peak body responsible for developing and coordinating policy and strategy across the emergency management spectrum and overseeing its implementation. A key role of SCRC is to advise the Minister for Police and Emergency Management, other relevant ministers, and the Security and Emergencies Committee (SEC) of Cabinet on whole of government emergency management strategy and emerging or complex emergency management issues, including the continuity of supply of essential services.

The Victorian Counter-Terrorism Statement 2017 outlines how Victorians are protected and supported before, during and after an act of terrorism. It also provides guidance on how to stay informed and engaged. Victoria’s approach to preventing terrorism reflects the Victorian Government’s strong commitment to social cohesion and community resilience. The statement explains that law enforcement is only one part of their response to countering terrorism. A resilient, cohesive and inclusive community is Victoria’s best defence against terrorism.

The statement is located on the Safeguarding Victorians against terrorism website which provides information on what Victorians can and should do before an incident occurs and if one actually happens.

Victorian emergency management arrangements

Victoria's emergency management arrangements are designed to deal with all hazards, including terrorism. The Emergency Management Act 2013 defines Victoria's emergency management structure and assigns significant roles and responsibilities. The Emergency Management Manual Victoria contains the principal policies and planning arrangements.

Further information is available on the Emergency Management Victoria website and the Victoria Police website.

Back to state/territory list

Western Australia

Western Australia's emergency management arrangements are based on the provisions of the Emergency Management Act 2005 and associated policies and procedures. The Act formally established the State Emergency Management Committee as the peak emergency management body in Western Australia.

The coordination of counter-terrorism activities is principally undertaken through the state's representatives on the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee, who are also members of the State Emergency Management Committee.

As far as possible, counter-terrorism strategies are incorporated into existing plans and procedures that deal with the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery arrangements for all hazards.

Further information regarding counter-terrorism arrangements in Western Australia can be found on the Office of State Security and Emergency Coordination website or the Western Australia Police website.

Back to state/territory list