Keeping Australia safe and secure
Keeping Australia and Australians safe and secure is the highest responsibility of the Government.
We are spending over $35 billion in 2015-16 on defence, national security and law enforcement.
Australia’s National Terrorism Public Alert level was raised in September 2014 to high because the threat of terrorism at home and abroad has increased.
Since then, we have seen the horror of the Martin Place siege and the stabbing attack on two police officers in Melbourne.
Between September 2014 and April 2015, 22 people have been arrested as a result of seven successful counter‑terrorism operations — almost one-third of all arrests as a result of counter-terrorism operations since 2001.
Overseas, we have seen the rise of the terrorist organisation Daesh, also known as ISIL. These terrorists have exploited civil war in Syria to gain strength and seize territory in Syria and Iraq, murdering thousands. But its impact is not simply in some distant land.
The number of Australian foreign fighters is increasing, the number of sympathisers and supporters of extremism is rising, and the number of potential terrorists, including in Australia, is growing.
There are at least 100 Australians fighting in Syria and Iraq and close to 160 supporting terrorist organisations, including around 30 who have returned from fighting overseas. The challenge now is much greater than in previous conflicts where fewer Australians were involved.
The internet and social media is making it easier for extremists to brainwash and recruit young and vulnerable people in our community.
The Government has responded and is continuing to take the action necessary to ensure Australians are safe and our border is secure.
The Government is investing $1.2 billion in new funding for national security in the 2015 Budget, building on the $1 billion in funding we announced in the 2014-15 MYEFO.
This will be used to aid our multi-pronged strategy to counter threats to Australia and Australians. This includes taking action by:
- investing in our own security, including protecting our borders from terrorism and crime;
- preventing Australians joining or supporting terrorist organisations; and
- improving collaboration in our community and with our region to address the uncertainties we all face, including terrorism.
Investing in our security
- Of the $1.2 billion in funding for national security in the 2015 Budget, the Government will provide $450 million to strengthen intelligence capabilities and challenge extremism.
- This builds on the additional $630 million invested in the 2014-15 MYEFO in measures to assist our security agencies to track and disrupt those who seek to harm us.
- Taken together, this funding is strengthening monitoring and disruption activities; increasing intelligence collection and analysis capabilities; enhancing border protection; and improving technical capabilities in our agencies.
- New legislation will make it easier to stop Australians joining or supporting terrorist organisations and to prosecute those who do.
- Additional funding for advanced technology and training will continue to ensure Australia's border is secure.
- Foreign fighters who have travelled to Syria and Iraq, and those who support them in Australia, are being monitored closely.
Security in action
- Australian military personnel are part of the international coalition leading the fight against terrorism.
- In the 2015 Budget, $750 million will be provided to extend and expand Australia's military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East.
- This includes $382 million to support our efforts to disrupt, degrade and ultimately destroy Daesh, also known as ISIL.
- The Government will deliver our Defence White Paper, which will be consistent with our commitment to increase Defence funding to two per cent of GDP by 2023-24.
- At home, our security and law enforcement agencies now have the resources and powers they need to give them the best chance of preventing attacks in Australia and on Australians.
Working with the community
- Our security agencies continue to work closely with community leaders throughout Australia to identify and divert people at risk of joining terrorist organisations.
- We are continuing to build and enhance counter-terrorism capabilities in our region by expanding engagement with international law and justice agencies.
- Our security and law enforcement agencies are working closely together and across state and territory boundaries to ensure a safer Australia.
- In recent months, we have increased our international liaison efforts to share knowledge and experience in combating the global threats we face.