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Australian Government Coat of Arms

Budget | 2015-16

Budget 2015-16
Australian Government Coat of Arms, Budget 2015-16

Prevention

The Government will do everything in its power to keep Australians safe at home and abroad.

We have taken decisive action to improve the way we identify those who support extremism and to prevent terrorism in Australia and by Australians.

Our security agencies are supported by legislation that has now been brought up-to-date to take account of changing technologies and evolving threats.

We have also continued to invest in border security to ensure we are able to identify high-risk travellers.

Strengthening our laws

Our security agencies have new, modernised powers to act against home-grown extremism and those who advocate terrorism.

It is now easier for agencies to act quickly and collaboratively to respond to the threats posed by terrorism, including through lower arrest thresholds for terrorism offences and by suspending passports to prevent Australians travelling to join up with terrorist organisations.

We have also introduced new laws that allow for cancellation of welfare payments on security grounds.

New, modern powers will help our security agencies tackle home-grown extremism and prevent terrorism.

Strengthening our border

Last year the Government agreed to the consolidation of existing border protection services to establish the Australian Border Force by 1 July 2015.

The Australian Border Force will be an intelligence-led, mobile and technology-enabled force to protect Australia’s border and respond to the threat of terrorism and transnational crime.

In the 2015 Budget the Government is building on this initiative by providing a further $50 million for further specialist training to Australian Border Force officers, including in advanced investigative techniques.

We will also provide $88 million to streamline passenger processing through the Seamless Traveller measure.

This will facilitate faster processing for most travellers, enabling border officers to focus on the small minority of travellers who are a security concern.

The Government is also investing $13 million to trial eGates, which provide enhanced identification technologies at the border to support rapid and accurate identification of people who are linked to crime, terrorism or other threats to Australia.

Stopping terrorists

The number of high-risk terrorist threats being monitored by security agencies has doubled in the last year and is now around 400.

There are 20 organisations listed as terrorist organisations under Australian law.

Australians cannot lawfully provide financial or other support to a listed organisation. It is also illegal to join or participate in any activities with a listed organisation.

Our security agencies are monitoring around 400 high‑risk terrorist threats.

Foreign fighters

Between 1990 and 2010, around 30 Australians travelled to fight in the conflict in Afghanistan. Twenty five returned to Australia and, since their return, 19 have engaged in activities of security concern with eight convicted of terrorism-related offences.

Today, the scale of the threat posed by foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq is greater than in previous conflicts like Afghanistan.

At least 100 Australians are fighting in Syria and Iraq and there are close to 160 Australians supporting terrorist organisations from Australia.

Around 30 Australians have already returned from fighting overseas and may represent a significant risk to the Australian community. Where foreign fighters return to Australia, it is now easier to use control orders to monitor their activities. It is also easier to prosecute them for their actions while they were overseas.

The Government has made it an offence to travel without a legitimate purpose to a designated area where terrorist organisations are conducting hostile activities.

We have also enabled ASIO to request suspension of an Australian passport to prevent Australians leaving to become foreign fighters.

It is also now easier for police to make arrests for terrorism offences, which is essential in this new era of home-grown terrorism.

Traveller security

Following the tragic loss of Germanwings flight 4U9525, we have taken steps to enhance the safety of Australian travellers with improved security measures for aircraft cockpits.

Our security agencies continue to work with the airline industry and other countries to improve security for travellers.

Photo of a man using the airport electronic passport control system.