On 22 October, the Minister for Home Affairs chaired a national Ministerial Meeting on Counter-Terrorism (CT) and Transnational, Serious and Organised Crime (TSOC). The meeting brought together State and Territory Ministers responsible for these matters to discuss the current and future threat environment, consider the challenges collectively faced and identify opportunities for enhanced cooperation to respond to them. The meeting addressed national issues and initiatives, including the management of High Risk Terrorist Offenders (HRTO), the National Plan to Combat Cybercrime and TSOC legislative reform.
SUMMARY OF OUTCOMES
High Risk Terrorist Offender Management
State, Territory, and Commonwealth Governments will continue to work collaboratively to address the shared risk of managing terrorist offenders at the end of their custodial sentences. Cooperation between States, Territories, and the Commonwealth on legislation to make Extended Supervision Orders available to manage the risk of released terrorist offenders reflects our shared commitment to work together to keep Australian communities safe. State, Territory, and Commonwealth Ministers agreed officials would continue to work together to finalise the National HRTO Regime Implementation Framework as a priority.
Proposal for a new National Convicted Terrorist Offender Register
Released terrorist offenders can continue to be radicalised, motivated, and capable of further offending, even after extended periods of inactivity. Ministers agreed to work together to explore options, including the establishment of a national register of convicted terrorist offenders, to manage the risk posed by terrorist offenders post-sentence.
Terrorism (Community Protection) Amendment Bill 2021
Members noted that the Terrorism (Community Protection) Amendment Bill 2021 has been introduced in the Victorian Parliament to maintain special powers to respond to terrorism risks in Victoria and establish court-ordered and voluntary case management schemes to support people who are radicalising or at risk of radicalising towards violent extremism.
As international borders prepare to re-open, with the recent resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the importance of aviation security cannot be underestimated. While the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a decline in air travel, there is no room for complacency when it comes to transport security, with the aviation sector remaining an attractive target for terrorists. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the operations of Australia’s aviation and maritime industries. The economic recovery is a chance for Governments to partner with industry as security operations are re-established in a new environment. Ministers discussed a number of initiatives being progressed by the Commonwealth, and reforms in both the aviation and maritime sectors which will support industry’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring our security settings remain strong.
National Plan to Combat Cybercrime
Ministers discussed the importance of close cooperation and collaboration to effectively respond to the growing and evolving threat of Cybercrime. Cybercrime has become one of the fastest growing and most prolific forms of crime committed against Australia and Australians. An approach that involves all States and Territories, industry and the community is essential to keep Australians online, and maximise Australia’s resilience to cybercrime.
Transnational, Serious and Organised Crime Legislative Reform
Ministers recognised the importance of Australian law enforcement and security agencies having effective tools to combat transnational, serious and organised crime, and protect the Australian community. Ministers agreed to continue close collaboration as the Commonwealth develops reforms to Australia’s electronic surveillance legislative framework. Ministers agreed to work closely to implement the anticipated AUS-US CLOUD Act Agreement and new international production order framework to significantly enhance Australian law enforcement capabilities to combat serious crime.
Violence against Women and Children
Ministers have reaffirmed their commitment to working together to protect the most vulnerable in our society, including by a driving long-term, nationally coordinated approach to preventing child sexual abuse and ending violence against women and children.
Ministers agreed to reconvene in February 2022 to review progress against the issues discussed and to consider collaborative approaches to other important national security issues.