​​​​​​​
You are here: Skip breadcrumbAttorney-General's Department >> Publications >> Annual reports >> Annual report 2007-08 >> Annual Report 2007-08 Output 2.5

Annual Report 2007-08 Output 2.5

Development and promotion of protective security policy advice and common standards and practices; the coordination of protective security services, including counter-terrorism and dignitary protection; the provision of security for special events; the development of counter-terrorism capabilities; and the coordination of national security crises and information through the Watch Office and National Security Hotline

Summary

The Protective Security Coordination Centre (PSCC) within the Department delivers a range of security-related programs. The PSCC provides policy advice and whole-of-government coordination to prevent, or respond to, threats to Australia’s national security. We also provide protective security training and personnel security vetting. We coordinated dignitary protection and the Australian Government’s protective security involvement of high-level events. The Centre also maintains close working relationships with all Australian Government departments and agencies, federal, State and Territory police services, Premiers’ and Chief Ministers’ departments and security agencies to accomplish these functions. A highlight in 2007–08 was the establishment of the Attorney-General’s Department Coordination Centre (AGDCC), a new facility operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week that will focus on all hazards, including those affecting national security and emergency management.

Major achievements

Policy and services

The PSCC received funding to undertake a number of initiatives related to national security trials. We played an integral part by supporting three jurisdictions in the conduct of trials where national security information had been brought into evidence. We provided security equipment, information and communications technology, security clearances and training. We coordinated the delivery of equipment to the required jurisdiction and ensured the timely and accurate dissemination of security training and briefings.

Since the Australian Security Vetting Service (ASVS) was created 12 years ago, demand for its product and services has continued to increase. ASVS now conducts between 4,000 and 5,000 clearances annually for more than 90 Australian Government clients.

ASVS has built an excellent reputation based on the quality of its product and customer service. This success is attributed to its staff and contractor panel, who are highly trained and experienced in personnel security vetting. The ASVS invested in a major upgrade to its database. The new version of the ASVS database will improve the management of the business unit and further improve quality assurance processes and flexibility in tailoring reporting to client needs. The first phase of this project was rolled out before the end of this financial year, with subsequent phases through to the 2008–09 financial year.

Counter-terrorism

PSCC coordinated the successful completion of the first annual cycle of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee’s (NCTC’s) continuous improvement process and the National Counter-Terrorism Committee Capability Review and Development Process (NCRDP). The NCRDP provides the NCTC with a mechanism to ensure that appropriate national counter-terrorism capability is maintained, and that current and projected capability gaps are identified and addressed in a timely and systematic manner.

A key outcome of the first cycle of the NCRDP was an expansion of the range of counter-terrorism issues in which the NCTC has assumed a national leadership role. A consequence of this broadening of the NCTC’s focus has been the creation of a number of new subcommittees and working groups, which PSCC is now supporting.

One of the most important components of the NCTC’s capability maintenance and development work is its annual series of counter-terrorism exercises. PSCC coordinated a range of major NCTC deployment exercises around Australia during 2007–08, including two tactical exercises, three investigation and consequence management exercises and an exercise in preparation for World Youth Day in July 2008. These exercises, included a range of Federal, State and Territory Government agencies, local government agencies and the private sector.

PSCC also successfully coordinated a number of non-NCTC capability development activities, including Australia’s involvement in a United States-led multilateral exercise and a subsequent Australia–United States bilateral seminar.

Security coordination

PSCC completed protective security reviews of all new government federal ministers’ electorate offices and residences to ensure appropriate protective security arrangements were in place after the 2007 Federal Election.

During 2007–08, in consultation with the AFP, PSCC completed all measures outlined in the September 2003 Review of Protective Security Strategies for Australian Holders of High Office and Diplomatic and Consular missions (Sadleir review). Protective security risk reviews at The Lodge, Government House and six Commonwealth parliamentary offices were completed.

On behalf of the Australian Government, PSCC arranged protective security for a number of special events, including federal Community Cabinet meetings and ANZAC Day services at Gallipoli.

The PSCC coordinated the whole-of-government security arrangements for the World Youth Day event in July 2008. Building on detailed security planning through 2007–08, in consultation with relevant Australian Government and New South Wales Government agencies, including New South Wales Police, final preparations were a major focus for the PSCC in the lead-up to the event.

Three officers were deployed to Gallipoli, Turkey, to coordinate security arrangements for the 93rd ANZAC Day Commemorations on 25 May 2008. The commemorations at Anzac Cove and Lone Pine attracted approximately 10,000 attendees. Security planning for the 2009 ANZAC Day Commemorations has commenced.

The Beijing Olympic Torch arrived in Canberra on 23 April and was escorted through Canberra on 24 April 2008, without major incident. PSCC chaired the security working group coordinating the Australian Government security overlay for the event and worked with representatives of ACT Government agencies, including ACT Police and Ambulance; also represented were the Australian Olympic Committee and the Canberra Airport Corporation.

We commenced coordination of the Australian Government security overlay for the Beijing Olympic Games in April 2006. This involved chairing the Security Working Group, which included several key Australian Government departments and agencies. The Prime Minister approved the Games as a special event, which assisted with coordination of the whole-of-government approach to security planning. PSCC participated in the Australian Government advance visit to China to scope venues and better inform the Australian Government’s Strategic Security Plan and Risk Management Plan. Security planning is now underway for the Commonwealth Sports Ministers’ Meeting to be held in Beijing on 9 August 2008.

The Continuity of Government plan has been rewritten and reformatted. The revised plan provides a more flexible approach to potential activation and offers more response options.

Information coordination

On 1 July 2007, the Department integrated the coordination and communication functions from the PSCC’s Watch Office and EMA’s National Emergency Coordination Centre into a single coordination facility. This new facility, the AGDCC, focuses on all hazards, including those affecting national security and emergency management.

The AGDCC was instrumental in developing and implementing Cyber Storm II, an international exercise involving a cyber attack on Australia’s critical infrastructure. The AGDCC has also been involved in cyclone, earthquake and tsunami warning procedures across Australia and in the region.

National Security Hotline

The National Security Hotline (NSH) received an increase in calls from the previous year. This year a terrorist attack at Glasgow Airport and the consequential Haneef investigations resulted in an influx of calls to the NSH during August 2007.

The caretaker period prior to the national election in late 2007 meant that the national security campaign was not aired until 15 June 2008. This resulted in the tapering off of calls from December 2007 through to May 2008. The June 2008 national security campaign led to an increased number of calls late in the reporting period.

Details of calls from the NSH are passed to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), AFP and the relevant State and Territory police services for assessment.

An upgrade of the reporting arrangements for the NSH database during 2008 allows all reports from the NSH to be accessed by States and Territories as required. The forums conducted twice yearly with ASIO, AFP and State and Territory police services have commended this improvement to reporting arrangements.

Outlook

In 2008–09, PSCC will coordinate:

  • the development of the NCTC counter-terrorism capabilities to ensure that Australia’s counter-terrorism capability keeps ahead of the evolving terrorist threat
  • the second annual cycle of the NCRDP in 2008–09
  • a variety of counter-terrorism exercises in 2008–09, including Mercury 2008, the largest and most complex NCTC exercise since 2005, involving all levels of government and the private sector
  • a major review of the NCTC National Counter-Terrorism Handbook to ensure that the handbook continues to provide Australian, State and Territory government officials with the most accurate and up-to-date information on the key operational elements of the national counter-terrorism arrangements, and
  • the Australian Government’s whole-of-government security arrangements for the World Youth Day event in July 2008, Australia’s involvement in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the 2009 ANZAC Day Commemorations.

The AGDCC will become the national warning point for radiological and nuclear events both in Australia and internationally. The memorandum of understanding with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Authority will commence on 1 July 2008.

The AGDCC is currently enhancing capability for interjurisdictional communication and will have connectivity with States and Territories in time for the NCTC’s major exercise Mercury 2008.

The final phases of the new version of the ASVS database will be in operation by the end of the 2008–09 financial year.

The NSH continues to develop its surge capacity and will have functional bilateral arrangements supported by technology that allows calls to be received and reported.

Performance indicators
Quantitative and qualitative

Output 2.5

Development and promotion of protective security policy advice and common standards and practices; the coordination of protective security services, including counter-terrorism and dignitary protection; the provision of security for special events; the development of counter-terrorism capabilities; and the coordination of national security crises and information through the Watch Office and National Security Hotline

Activity

Performance indicator

Result

Policy advice provided to ministers

 

Quantity

 

 

 

2006–07

 

2007–08

 

Submissions to ministers

 

64

 

80

 

Cabinet submissions

 

6

 

 

Ministerial correspondence*

 

105

 

198

 

Responses to questions on notice

 

14

 

1

 

Briefs

 

68

 

63

 

Speeches

 

1

 

2

 

Quality

 

Advice to ministers provided within agreed timeframes

 

Achieved

 

Extent of satisfaction of ministers as measured by periodic feedback from ministers and their offices

 

Highly satisfied

 

Promote protective security awareness and capability across Australian, State and local government employees and contractors through the provision of training events

 

Quantity  

 

2006–07

 

2007–08

 

Training events delivered

 

97

 

82

 

Participants

 

1,100

 

984

 

E-learning registrations

 

1,984

 

1,986

 

Agencies that used training services

 

139

 

138

 

Quality

 

Compliance with Standards for Registered Training Organisation under the Australian Quality Training Framework achieved

 

Achieved

The Training Centre continues to comply with Australian Quality Training Framework requirements as a registered training organisation. The scope of registration was extended to include a new qualification—Cert IV in Government (Investigation).

 

Survey course participants and stakeholder agencies to ensure the maintenance of high quality training events

 

Achieved

The Training Centre continues to facilitate the delivery of high-quality protective security training while catering for a growing range of clientele.

 

Security vetting services Quantity

 

 

 

2006–07

 

2007–08

 

Requests for personnel security clearance investigations

 

5,734

 

4,085

 

Clearances completed

 

4,361
(for 84 agencies)

 

4,366
(for 79 agencies)

 

Quality

 

Personnel security clearance investigations conducted in accordance with standards specified in the Protective Security Manual

 

Achieved

The ASVS applies the standards prescribed in the Protective Security Manual when conducting vetting.

 

Development, management and coordination of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee (NCTC) program of activities

 

Quality

 

All approved NCTC training, exercises, forums and equipment delivered on time

 

Achieved

The 2007–08 program of activities was achieved.

NCTC agreed the 2008–09 program of activities in June.

 

Manage and support relevant NCTC sub-committees and work groups

 

Quality

 

Effective outcomes achieved and reported in accordance with NCTC requirements

 

Achieved

All NCTC sub-committees and working groups supported effectively.

 

Maintenance of the National Counter-Terrorism Plan and Handbook

 

Quality

 

Documentation is relevant and up-to-date

 

Achieved

Planning completed for a major revision in 2008–09.

 

Management and coordination of dignitary protection services for Australian holders of high office, visiting foreign dignitaries and the diplomatic and consular community Quantity  

 

2006–07

 

2007–08

 

Visits by foreign dignitaries to Australia

 

128

 

133

 

Briefings for Australian holders of high office

 

65

 

29

 

Security protection plans prepared

 

3

 

4

 

Physical security surveys conducted

 

30

 

81

 

Quality

 

Timely reporting on the activities of the Security Coordination Sub-Committee of the Australian Government Counter-Terrorism Committee

 

Achieved

SCSC provided an activity report to each monthly AGCTC meeting and produced minutes of each fortnightly SCSC meeting.

 

Maintaining a dedicated 24 hour, 7 days per week security coordination and response management facility, known as the Watch Office

 

Quantity Watch office is available on a 24/7 basis

 

Achieved

 

Quality

 

Effective coordination and appropriate dissemination of information from the Watch Office to relevant stakeholders

 

Achieved

The AGDCC has from 1 July 2008 responded to numerous domestic and international incidents, in the areas of national security and emergency management.

AGDCC is involved in the NCTC’s national exercise program, and has been involved in the development and dissemination of national earthquake and tsunami warning arrangements.

AGDCC provides daily reports on national security and natural disasters both within Australia and across our region.

Support has been received from stakeholders on the establishment of AGDCC and the integration of national security and emergency management coordination into a single centre.

 

Effective coordination and appropriate communication of information into the Watch Office from a range of sources

 

Achieved

AGDCC receives information from a range of sources, including ASIO, AFP, Defence, DFAT, EMA, State and Territory police, and other Government agencies.

AGDCC disseminates information on a need-to-know basis. It provided centralised secure information to Australian, State and Territory Government agencies on behalf of the PSCC, EMA, the Special Incident Task Force and the National Crisis Committee.

 

Managing the National Security Hotline (1800 123 400) to provide a 24 hour, 7 days per week facility for the public to seek assurance or report matters of security that are of concern to them Quantity National Security Hotline (NSH) is available on a 24/7 basis

 

Achieved

 

 

 

2006–07

 

2007–08

 

Calls, letters and emails answered by the NSH

 

16,204

 

20,972

 

Total numbers of calls, letters and emails answered by the NSH since introduction

 

117,493

There was a surge in calls in August 2007 as a result of the Glasgow bombings and the associated Dr Haneef investigations. National security campaigns continue to be highly effective in initiating calls to the National Security Hotline.

 

Quality

 

NSH call reports meet the needs of stakeholders both in terms of timeliness and quality, as measured by formal biannual reporting and informal feedback

 

Achieved

Informal and formal feedback through the consultative forum with stakeholders continues to highlight the value of the National Security Hotline in protecting Australia, and contributing to existing investigations and initiating new investigations.

 

* The number of ministerials relates to the number of actions in relation to ministerial correspondence.

† Briefs include papers on current issues, possible parliamentary questions (new and updated) and meeting briefs.

Performance information for Output 2.5—administered items

Administered item

Performance indicator

Result

APEC 2007 security arrangements

 

Quality

 

Expenditure in accordance with agreed arrangements

 

Achieved

 

Budget price: $53.578 million

 

Actual price: $52.162 million

 

National Security Public Information Campaign

 

Quality

 

Communication activities evaluated against agreed objectives

 

Achieved

 

Budget price: $9.423 million

 

Actual price: $9.198 million

 

National Counter-Terrorism Committee (NCTC)—Administered Fund and operating expenses

 

Quality

 

Expenditure approved by NCTC and managed in accordance with NCTC financial guidelines and CEIs to within 5% of allocated budget

Expenditure in accordance with Government decisions and as approved by the Committee

 

Achieved

The NCTC Administered Fund provides funding to the NCTC program to develop and maintain a nationwide counter-terrorism network through the provision of a basic viable capability in each State and Territory commensurate with the general level of threat to Australia. The NCTC Administered Fund provides for meetings of the NCTC, its subcommittees and working groups; national policy and operational seminars, forums and workshops; the development of documentation to support the NCTC and the nationwide counter-terrorism capability; a program of training, development and counter-terrorism exercises; the Australian Secure Network (ASNET), which facilitates the transmission of information between approved Australian, State and Territory Government departments and agencies involved in counter-terrorism; and the purchase of specialist counter-terrorism equipment for State and Territory police.

Training courses and counter-terrorism exercises were successfully conducted across all Australian States and Territories under the NCTC Capability Development Program. These activities strengthened Australia’s counter-terrorism capability by involving relevant Australian, State and Territory Government departments and agencies with responsibility for preparedness, prevention, response and recovery.

The NCTC budget was $20.082 million, of which $5.543 million was transferred from the 2006–07 appropriation. The activities funded included exercises, training courses and equipment.

Funding of $5.817 million, of which $1.130 million was transferred from the 2006–07 appropriation, was allocated for the ongoing operation and communication upgrade of ASNET to enhance the transmission of secure information among relevant agencies.

 

Budget price: $20.082 million

 

Actual price: $18.246 million

 


Our people

Testing Australia’s national counter-terrorism arrangements

Deborah McGuire, Protective Security <br>Coordination Centre.

Deborah McGuire, Protective Security
Coordination Centre.

For the Protective Security Coordination Centre, Australia’s hosting of the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation 2007 forum was an opportunity to take part in the biggest dignitary protection operation in Australia’s history and test Australia’s national counter-terrorism arrangements.

The PSCC was responsible for whole-of-government security coordination for the APEC events with the aim of adequately securing events without detracting from the open and often informal nature of APEC meetings. This involved bringing together the Australian Government and State and Territory agencies with a security role, including police forces. In Sydney, the PSCC worked within the APEC 2007 Taskforce and coordinated protection for the large number of visiting dignitaries attending Leaders Week.

Deborah McGuire of the APEC 2007 Security Branch was one of the many staff members deployed to support the successful hosting of APEC events around Australia along with other staff from Public Affairs, PSCC, Information and Knowledge Services Group and the Australian Secure Network.

‘APEC was a great opportunity for me. I relocated my family to Sydney’s northern beaches to be involved in this significant event and, most importantly, I worked with a dedicated group of people.

‘Initially, my primary responsibility was the administration of security funding and coordination of Australian Government assets for the event. Then I became more involved in the security planning and in particular gained a lot of satisfaction from working on the security plan for Sydney Harbour. During the Leaders Week, I managed a team that provided information and support to the PSCC’s Watch Office as well as our people at the APEC venues and in the Police Operations Centre.

Deborah forged strong relationships and worked closely with the New South Wales Police.

‘Working with the NSW Police gave me another perspective on protective security and its impact on the community,’ Deborah added.