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 Programme 1.6: National security and criminal justice

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Programme objective

This programme contributes to Outcome 1 by protecting and promoting the rule of law and building a safe, secure and resilient Australia.

Programme deliverables

Provide services to protect national security and build community resilience.

Achievements contributing to programme deliverables

Crime prevention

The department administers funding rounds under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which allows criminal proceeds to be given back to the community to prevent and reduce the harmful effects of crime in Australia. In 2014–15 more than $18.9m was awarded under round one of the Safer Streets Programme for projects in more than 150 locations across 64 electorates to undertake important community safety initiatives. The department also worked with law enforcement agencies in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia to provide proceeds of crime funding to support their efforts to tackle crime. We also administer the Schools Security Programme which will provide $18m in funding over three years. In September 2014 the department held a funding round under this programme with 54 schools approved for funding. The Australian Government expanded the Safer Suburbs Programme by awarding $3,842,539 in grants to 32 local councils under the Taxi Security Scheme (this programme ceased on 30 June 2015).

Countering Violent Extremism

The department developed two substantial new policy initiatives. The new Living Safe Together Programme ($13.4m over four years) was announced in August 2014 to support education, training and early intervention measures, including the national roll-out of intervention programmes to help individuals disengage from violence and reconnect with communities. New measures to challenge terrorist propaganda in Australia were announced in February 2015 with funding to commence in the 2015–16 Budget ($21.7m over four years).

National Aerial Firefighting Centre

The department worked with the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) to provide an effective national aerial firefighting capability. Over the 2014–15 bushfire season, NAFC contracted 92 specialised aircraft to deliver services across the country. This included firebombing, intelligence gathering, reconnaissance and supervision aircraft. The national fleet was involved in a number of major bushfire events throughout Australia, including the January 2015 fires in Western Australia and South Australia.

Natural Disaster Resilience Programme

The National Partnership Agreement on Natural Disaster Resilience is the mechanism for administering the Natural Disaster Resilience Programme and is a joint funding agreement between the Australian Government and state and territory governments. Through the agreement, the Australian Government has provided $52.2m over two years for states and territories to invest in disaster resilience projects, which are prioritised in accordance with their respective state-wide natural disaster risk assessments and consistent with the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience.

National Bushfire Mitigation Programme

The national agreement for bushfire mitigation builds on the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience. Through the agreement, the Australian Government is providing $11.3m towards state-based bushfire mitigation activities and $2.2m towards the development of nationally agreed approaches to prescribed burning. In addition, the National Bushfire Mitigation Programme is investing in a strategic initiative, led by New South Wales and delivered by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council, to deliver nationally consistent standards and a bushfire fuel load classification system in support of more effective and better coordinated prescribed burning activities across Australia. An additional $1.5m has also been allocated to a trial of mechanical fuel load reduction, administered by the Department of Agriculture.

G20 exercise programme

The department led the Australian Government G20 preparatory exercise programme, which concluded in 2014–15. It focused primarily on Australian Government agency needs, with close collaboration with relevant state and territory government agencies and, wherever possible, was integrated with the Australia–New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee and state-led activities.

International Criminal Court

The department continued to manage Australia’s financial obligations to the International Criminal Court and supported Australia’s engagement with the court, including the court’s permanent premises project.

Evaluations and reviews

Productivity Commission inquiry into natural disaster funding arrangements

The Productivity Commission tabled its final report on natural disaster funding arrangements on 1 May 2015. The commission recommended that the Australian Government streamline arrangements by basing its post-disaster support to states and territories on up-front damage assessments and benchmarked reconstruction costs, rather than the current practice of reimbursing state expenditure. The review also recommended substantial reductions to Australian Government post-disaster support to state and territory governments, and increased support for mitigation. The department is currently leading consultation with states and territories on reform options in response to the commission’s recommendations.

Results against key performance indicators

Key performance indicator

Improved community resilience


2014–15: Achieved

2013–14: Achieved

The department has assisted communities to understand their risks and prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies. We have worked closely with states and territories to coordinate, develop and implement emergency management policies and initiatives through continued implementation of the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience.

The Australian Government continued to provide funding via the National Emergency Management Projects grants programme, the National Disaster Resilience Programme and the NAFC to achieve priority disaster resilience initiatives identified by the Council of Australian Governments and emergency management ministers. The NAFC’s ability to effectively and quickly mobilise aircraft continues to enhance Australia’s aerial firefighting capability. The number of aircraft contracted increased to 92 from 73 in the previous financial year.

As part of the CVE Programme, the department administered the Living Safe Together Grants Programme. This provided $1.9m to support community-based, non-government and local government organisations to build their capacity to help individuals move away from violent extremism. A range of projects are being funded, including leadership programmes designed to educate and empower at-risk youth, development of training resources on recognising signs of radicalisation, youth mentoring programmes and counselling services for individuals and families.

Key performance indicator

Improved protection of national security


2014–15: Achieved

2013–14: Achieved

The department has actively engaged with stakeholders, including relevant Australian Government departments, the states and territories and industry, to improve the effectiveness of Australia’s national security policies and programmes.

Under the Schools Security Programme, funding was awarded to 54 schools across Australia. Under the Safer Streets Programme $18.9m was awarded to 73 organisations to deliver 80 projects. Under the CVE Living Safer Together Grants Programme, $2.7m was awarded.

The capability provided by the NAFC enhances Australia’s capacity to effectively respond to emergencies and disasters. It supports Australia’s resilience-based approach to emergency management as outlined in the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience.

The whole-of-government CVE programme, led by the department, establishes preventative measures to improve protection of national security by reducing the threat of violent extremist acts in Australia. Through the CVE Sub-Committee of the Australia–New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC), the department provided $2.2m towards CVE-related projects Australia-wide.

The department also led work supporting the development and maintenance of Australia’s national counter-terrorism capability through the ANZCTC. This included nationally-focused skills-enhancement training, coordination and delivery of a national exercise programme, development of common operational doctrine and procurement aimed at building effective inter-jurisdictional and interagency cooperation, prevention and response capability.

Key performance indicator

Effective administration of the national security and criminal justice programmes


2014–15: Achieved. Trend information is not available as this is a new key performance indicator introduced in the 2014–15 Portfolio Budget Statements.

The department assessed 98 applications under the Schools Security Programme. Under this funding round, funding was awarded to 54 government and non-government schools across Australia for security enhancement. The department also assessed 87 applications under the Safer Streets Programme with $18.97 million of Safer Streets funding being awarded to 73 organisations to deliver for 80 projects.

  • $1.39m—Living Safe Together grants and community projects
  • $0.40m—programme support, delivery and research
  • $0.78m—intervention programmes—state/territory coordination, service payments
  • $0.15m—communications, community engagement, education and training.

As part of the Australian Government’s appropriation to the department for 2014–15, the ANZCTC administered fund received $11.5m which was allocated to the committee’s programme of activities. These funds were in addition to the $1.07m appropriated specifically for counter-terrorism drill-style exercises. A number of focused drill-style exercises were successfully conducted by the states and territories and involved a range of government departments and agencies. The exercises provided a framework for testing and evaluating elements of their counter-terrorism arrangements and build preparedness, prevention, response and recovery capability.

The Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas Payment Scheme provides financial assistance to Australian victims of overseas terrorist acts declared by the Prime Minister. The scheme was activated for the first time on 21 October 2013. Assistance of up to $75,000 is available to Australians residents who are harmed in declared terrorist acts, or is otherwise shared amongst Australians who are close family members of those killed. The Department of Human Services administers and processes the claims under the scheme. As at the end of the 2014–15 financial year, $32.9m had been paid to victims.

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