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Chapter 10 - National Security and Criminal Justice - administered programs

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National Security and Criminal Justice - administered programs

Program 1.6

National Security and Criminal Justice

Summary

In 2010–11, the Department worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to maintain Australia’s engagement in the work of the International Criminal Court. This included participating in the ninth session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and in ongoing deliberations regarding the Court’s budget, administration, activities and jurisdiction.

The Department oversaw the distribution of proceeds of crime funding, the implementation of the Secure Schools and Safer Suburbs programs, and continued with the buyback of handguns and other firearms.

The Department also works collaboratively across government and with its national and international stakeholders to improve the coordination of counter-terrorism and emergency management activities. This is undertaken through a range of projects, programs and initiatives, which enhance the resilience and security of Australia and its people.

Under the National Crisis Coordination Capability Program, the Department successfully delivered the Parliament House Briefing Room which was handed over to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in October 2010. The Room is a networked facility designed to support executive decision making during large-scale emergencies, and provides improved technologies to coordinate whole-of-government information during crises. The Room has been used successfully during recent events such as the Queensland and Victorian floods and Tropical Cyclone Yasi.

The Government’s Crisis Coordination Centre commenced operations in an interim capacity in September 2010. The Centre’s establishment meets a recommendation of the 2008 Homeland and Border Security Review for the centralisation of information and coordination during a crisis. During the 2010–11 disaster season, the Centre provided enhanced whole-of-government situational awareness and decision support products, including support to the Australian Government Crisis Committee for domestic emergencies in all states and the Northern Territory. The Centre also supported the Government’s response to a number of international crises including the Pakistan floods, New Zealand earthquake and the Japan earthquake and tsunami, by helping to coordinate domestic resources drawn from all jurisdictions to the affected countries.

The Department has developed a national approach to countering violent extremism. It aims to reduce the risk of home-grown terrorism by strengthening Australia’s resilience to radicalisation and helping individuals to disengage from violent extremist influences and beliefs. In 2010–11, the Department commenced a range of evidence-based projects aimed at identifying and addressing the processes that lead to violent extremism. The Department also supports initiatives that form part of the Australian Government’s broader social inclusion and national security agendas.

In line with Australia’s Framework for Law and Justice Engagement with the Pacific, the Department supports Pacific countries to develop police and criminal justice legislation through the Pacific Police Development Program, a collaboration with the Australian Federal Police. Program initiatives include reviewing, developing and drafting police and criminal justice legislation, including for transnational crimes.

Major achievements

Secure Schools and Safer Suburbs programs

During 2010–11, the Department made considerable progress in implementing the Government’s commitment to improving the security of local communities through the Safer Suburbs program, and to help at-risk religious, ethnic and secular schools meet their particular security needs through the Secure Schools program.

Safer Suburbs

The Government has committed $5.42 million to fund 43 new projects over three years to continue the successful Safer Suburbs Program. Funding is being provided for a range of community safety initiatives that include installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) and lighting, as well as initiatives that provide diversion and intervention activities to young people. The Program builds upon $15 million in funding committed under the Safer Suburbs Plan in 2007. Most of the earlier projects have now been completed, with highlights including the installation of CCTV cameras and alarm systems to enhance security in the City of Belmont in Western Australia and the City of Playford in South Australia. Funding was also provided to organisations such as the Moreton Bay Regional Council in Queensland and Penrith City Council in New South Wales to install security lighting.

Secure Schools

Forty-nine schools across Australia have been awarded funding of more than $20 million under the Secure Schools Program. The schools are a mix of government, religious and independent schools that have been funded to undertake a range of security enhancement projects, which included installing fencing, CCTV cameras, access controls and lighting. Many of these projects are nearing completion.

International Criminal Court

The Department continued to manage Australia’s financial obligations to the International Criminal Court during the year. It arranged payment of Australia’s assessed annual contribution to the Court, as well as the final instalment of Australia’s assessed share of the costs associated with building the Court’s permanent premises. The Department also arranged payment of Australia’s voluntary contributions to the Court’s Trust Fund for Victims and its Trust Fund for the Participation of Least Developed Countries in the Assembly of States Parties, as well as other contributions to initiatives supporting the Court’s work.

In addition, work continued with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to build and maintain Australia’s relationship and engagement with the Court. The Department actively participated in the ninth session of the Assembly of States Parties in December 2010 and provides ongoing advice on Assembly initiatives aimed at enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the Court.

Pacific Police Development Program

The Department provides technical legal assistance in response to formal requests from senior Pacific Island officials. Projects are advanced with cooperation from, and in consultation with, requesting countries. The Department has continued to progress projects in Nauru, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu, and in the past 12 months has engaged in new partnership projects with Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. Opportunities are also being explored to assist other Pacific Island countries.

Key achievements included enacting new police legislation in Tonga in September 2010 and developing an implementation plan, developing draft police regulations to support new police legislation in Tuvalu and Kiribati, finalising a policy paper for the first of a three part project to reform the Nauru Criminal Code, and in-country capacity building assistance to ni-Vanuatu government officials to implement international conventions. The Department also co-hosted a Pacific Regional Cyber Crime Legislation Workshop.

National Disaster Resilience and Recovery Arrangements

The Department activated the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements team for more than five months during the 2010–11 disaster season. The Arrangements enabled the relief and recovery effort to be delivered as well as the early provision of assistance.

More than $2.6 billion was paid to the States and Territories during the year under the Arrangements, an increase of approximately $2.5 billion from 2009–10. The 2010–11 disaster season was defined by some of the worst floods and cyclones in Australia’s history, especially in Queensland. To enable provision of immediate assistance to individuals, communities and State and local governments, the Australian Government made advance payments of $2.05 billion to the Queensland Government in response to the 2010–11 summer floods and Tropical Cyclone Yasi, and $500 million to the Victorian Government for the floods in early 2011. Much of this funding will be used to restore and replace essential public infrastructure, which is a critical element of community recovery. It is estimated that the cost of reconstruction to the Commonwealth following the recent floods and cyclones will be around $6.6 billion.

The Department, through Centrelink, also provided $823 million for the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment for an immediate, one-off allocation of funds to individuals and families affected by major disasters throughout Australia since November 2010. Assistance totalling $3.9 million was also made available to more than 3000 eligible New Zealand ‘non protected’ Special Category Visa (SVC) (subclass 444) holders who had also been adversely affected by the disasters. In addition, $73 million from the Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy was provided to help employees, small business people and farmers who lost income as a result of the flooding and severe weather.

National Emergency Warning System

During 2010–11, the Australian Government provided $1.35 million to the States and Territories to research the feasibility of developing a capability to deliver warnings to mobile telephones based on the location of the handset at the time of an emergency. This capability would be an enhancement to the existing Commonwealth-funded telephone-based emergency warning capability, Emergency Alert, which was used extensively in the 2010–11 floods and bushfires.

The research confirmed that a location-based mobile warning capability was technically feasible, and the Government announced it would assist the States and Territories to fund the establishment costs associated with developing the capability.

As part of this, the Victorian Government is leading a procurement process on behalf of the States and Territories. The project’s timing will be based on State and Territory negotiations with each of the three national mobile telecommunication carriers.

Natural Disaster Resilience Program

The Natural Disaster Resilience Program (NDRP) is administered as a partnership with States and Territories which provide program administration through the National Partnership Agreement on Natural Disaster Resilience and individual implementation plans. The Agreement is administered under the Council of Australian Governments’ Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations. Funding for projects is prioritised by States and Territories in the context of their natural disaster risk priorities. This recognises that different jurisdictions have different priorities, and that these may change over time. Each State and Territory administers projects funded under the NDRP and, when applications are called for, ascertains funding eligibility.

The key aim of the NDRP is to enhance Australia’s resilience to natural disasters through mitigation works, measures and related activities that contribute to safer, sustainable communities that are better able to withstand the effects of disasters, particularly those arising from the impact of climate change.

The NDRP consolidates the former Bushfire Mitigation Program, the Natural Disaster Mitigation Program, and the National Emergency Volunteer Support Fund. Annual agreements between the Commonwealth and each State and Territory detail implementation arrangements.

The Program is in its second year of development. It was evaluated during the year and the review found that:

  • the disaster resilience measures are consistent with Government direction, including the National Disaster Resilience Framework, and the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience
  • through the National Partnership Agreement on Natural Disaster Resilience, the NDRP has, to a considerable extent, streamlined the administration of various programs to enable more strategic and targeted use of the funds available for activities that enhance disaster resilience
  • based on feedback from the States and Territories, the integration of the previous emergency management grant programs has increased the flexibility of States and Territories to more effectively meet the requirements of local communities threatened by disaster, in the strategic context of their risk profiles, and
  • the NDRP adheres to the spirit of the Council of Australian Governments’ Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations and the National Partnership Agreement on Natural Disaster Resilience.

Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management – Emergency Management

During the year, the Council of Australian Governments tasked the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management – Emergency Management to oversee development of a whole-of-nation strategy to build resilience. The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience was adopted by the Council of Australian Governments on 13 February 2011.

In February 2011, the Council of Australian Governments agreed to reform the system of Ministerial Councils from 30 June 2011 to focus on strategic national priorities and new ways to identify and address issues of national significance. Consequently, the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management – Emergency Management was reformed as the new Standing Council on Police and Emergency Management.

The Council’s priority is to increase the resilience of individuals and communities to the impacts of disasters. It will achieve this by undertaking and supporting initiatives that are designed to encourage all sectors of the Australian community to take responsibility for mitigating the effects of disasters, including implementation of the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience.

The Department, in partnership with the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, and public safety agencies including police, fire, emergency health and other emergency services, are working with the Council to develop a national public safety mobile broadband capability. A multi-jurisdiction steering committee has been established to progress this capability. The steering committee reports to the Council of Australian Governments through the Standing Council on Police and Emergency Management.

National Crisis Coordination Centre

The Parliament House Briefing Room was delivered in October 2010. The facility will be transferred to the Department of Parliamentary Services and will be operated by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Briefing Room was used successfully during recent events such as the Queensland and Victorian floods and Tropical Cyclone Yasi.

Construction of the new Australian Government Crisis Coordination Centre commenced in December 2010. An upgrade to the contingency facility was completed in June 2011. The first release of the Centre’s Information Management System was launched in May 2011.

National security exercises

In 2010–11, the Department coordinated the national and international counter-terrorism exercise Mercury 10 – the largest and most complex counter-terrorism exercise the Department has delivered and the first of the Mercury exercises to incorporate an international component with the involvement of New Zealand authorities. The exercise was conducted over six months, concluding with a number of deployment activities across Australia and New Zealand. It tested the Australian Government’s security, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies, as well as decision makers across all levels of government. The Department will use the National Counter-Terrorism Committee Evaluation Findings Resolution Process to action recommendations from the Mercury 10 final report. The recommendations will inform future capability development initiatives and support the national security community in developing its capability priorities.

The Department, on behalf of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee, provided funding to States and Territories to conduct a series of drill-style exercises to test their counter-terrorism capabilities. These exercises test specific capabilities and arrangements down to the community, local government and local business level.

Countering violent extremism to prevent terrorism

The Department coordinates a comprehensive, national approach to countering violent extremism issues, supported by a Government-endorsed strategic plan. In 2010–11, the Department commenced a range of evidence-based projects aimed at identifying and addressing the processes that lead to violent extremism. The Department also supports initiatives that form part of the Australian Government’s broader social inclusion and national security agendas.

As part of a community engagement initiative, the Department launched the Youth Mentoring Grants Program to support at risk youth in New South Wales and Victoria, and successful applicants were announced in March. The Building Community Resilience Grants Program was also launched in March to help communities promote activities that build resilience to extremist ideologies and beliefs.

The Attorney-General hosted community engagement forums in Sydney and Melbourne during the year, which enabled both the Attorney-General and the Department to engage directly with a range of community groups to identify their needs and develop ideas for addressing long-term causes of extremism at the community level.

Enhancing the knowledge base around the processes leading to radicalisation and violent extremism is a key aim of the countering violent extremism strategy. In 2010, the Department completed a review of literature to identify capability gaps and guide research requirements, and established a research database to build on the evidence base for policy responses to violent extremism.

Throughout 2011–12, the Department will continue to play an important leadership role in engaging with communities, federal and jurisdictional agencies in implementing a strategy for countering terrorism, and in refining the policy settings by which the Government will implement its counter-terrorism strategy.

Evaluations/reviews

Privacy impact assessment – mobile telephone emergency warning capability

The Department engaged a specialist privacy consultancy to assess the privacy impact of a location-based mobile telephone emergency warning capability. The scope of this assessment included any possible privacy related legislative or other impediments to implementing the capability, the associated privacy impact of telecommunication carriers maintaining a secure repository of data for forensic analysis when required, and an assessment of safeguards for mitigating the risks associated with this storage. The privacy impact assessment report supported development of the capability.

Emergency call service

A report was commissioned to identify best practice operating procedures, standards, principles and protocols for the State and Territory component of the Triple Zero (000) emergency call service. A key objective was to identify commonalities, opportunities and challenges to interoperability and compatibility in State and Territory Triple Zero call centre arrangements throughout Australia. To inform the report, comprehensive call centre surveys were undertaken, together with targeted interviews.

The context of this study was the outcome of major surges in calls during incidents such as the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. The call service’s capacity to cope with increased demand during extreme events came under scrutiny during the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. Recommendation 12.3 of the Royal Commission’s First Interim Report called on Victoria, through the Council of Australian Governments, to promote more effective emergency call centre arrangements throughout Australia.

Outlook at 30 June 2011

The National Crisis Coordination Capability Program will deliver the new Australian Government Crisis Coordination Centre facilities in September 2011. Construction commenced in December 2010. The Centre’s Information Management System will be further developed to enhance information sharing between Australian Government and State and Territory agencies during a crisis.

In 2011–12, the Department will continue to work collaboratively with other Australian Government agencies to support the International Criminal Court by fulfilling Australia’s financial obligations and participating in deliberations regarding the Court’s budget, administration, activities and jurisdiction. The Department will also continue to support initiatives by the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to enhance its effectiveness and efficiency.

The Department will continue its partnerships with Pacific Island countries to strengthen domestic legal frameworks and responses to transnational crime, in accordance with Australia’s Framework for Law and Justice Engagement with the Pacific.

 


Our people

Building a disaster resilient Australia

Improve Australia’s resilience to disasters

The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience identifies ways to improve Australia’s resilience to disasters and provides high-level guidance on disaster management to all levels of government, business leaders and the not-for-profit sector. A collaboration between government and stakeholders from non-governmental organisations, business and research sectors, the Strategy was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments on 13 February 2011.

Brianna Heseltine, Policy Officer in the Emergency Management Policy Branch, says the Strategy identifies the need to develop and embed new practices to improve Australia’s ability to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. It also recognises that disaster resilience is a shared responsibility for individuals, households, communities, businesses and governments.

The Strategy also highlights priority areas to strengthen Australia’s resilience to disasters over time. It recognises that to create a resilient nation, all community members need to have the relevant knowledge, skills and abilities to take appropriate action and to work in partnership with emergency services, local authorities and other relevant organisations to manage risk and to minimise the impacts of disasters.

For Brianna, working on the Strategy with representatives from other government agencies was a highlight. ‘I think the best policy comes from a process of gaining and refining input from a broad range of interested stakeholders,’ she says. ‘Liaising with representatives from other agencies allowed us to see the issues from multiple angles. Broad consultation gave valuable perspective to our work.’

The team’s hard work paid off when they were recognised for high-level professionalism and commitment in developing the Strategy at the Department’s 2011 Australia Day Achievement Awards.


 

Performance results

Table 15: Performance results, Program 1.6

Key performance indicators Results
Identifiable progress on legislative and operational initiatives undertaken with Pacific Island countries Substantially achieved
Comment: The Department’s work is ongoing and includes development and implementation of criminal and police legislative frameworks.
Australia meets its financial obligations to the International Criminal Court and participates effectively in negotiations regarding its jurisdiction Achieved
Comment: During the reporting year, the Department arranged payment of Australia’s assessed annual contribution to the International Criminal Court, as well as the final instalment of Australia’s assessed share of the costs associated with construction of the Court’s permanent premises. Australia participated in the ninth session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in December 2010 and in ongoing deliberations regarding the Court’s budget, administration, activities and jurisdiction.
Fund targeted national and community crime prevention programs Substantially achieved

Comment: Crime prevention programs have been conducted in accordance with program guidelines and project funding agreements. The majority of projects are progressing in accordance with these requirements, however a small number have been delayed in delivering their required outcomes.
A resilient national disaster management and response program Achieved
Comment: The Department has undertaken and completed various activities throughout the year to achieve this program. This has included initiatives on issues such as, Triple Zero, Bushfire Arson, and emergency warnings.

Elements of the National Crisis Coordination Capability Centre were completed during the year with the Parliament House Briefing Room operating from October 2010, and the Crisis Coordination Centre operating from September 2011.

In addition, the Council of Australian Governments agreed in December 2009 to a national ‘resilience’ based approach to natural disaster policy and programs and tasked the newly established National Emergency Management Committee with bringing together the views of all governments, business, the non-government sector and the community into a comprehensive National Strategy for Disaster Resilience. The Strategy was developed in 2010 and endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments on 13 February 2011. The National Emergency Management Committee is now focused on its implementation.
Prevention of terrorism through a national approach to countering violent extremism Achieved
Comment: In consultation with a range of agencies, the Department has developed a government-endorsed strategic plan that sets out the national approach to countering violent extremism.

Table 16: Program 1.6

Administered items Results
National Community Crime Prevention Program Substantially achieved

Comment: A small number of projects funded under this program have yet to be completed. These are expected to be finalised early in 2011–12 when the program is concluded.
Budget price: $3.313 million Actual price: $2.768 million
Payments for membership of international bodies Achieved

Comment: Payments for Australia’s membership of the Financial Action Task Force for 2010 and 2011.
Budget price: $0.175 million Actual price: $0.172 million
Payments for grants to Australian organisations Substantially achieved

Comment: Funding for Crime Stoppers Australia Inc
Budget price: $1.626 million Actual price: $1.621 million
Safer Suburbs Substantially achieved

Comment: The majority of the projects funded under this program have been completed. A small number have been delayed due to circumstances beyond the control of the recipient organisations. Additional funding was provided through 2010–11 Additional Estimates for 43 new projects. Establishment and delivery of these projects is on track.
Budget price: $4.277 million Actual price: $4.317 million
Secure Schools Substantially achieved

Comment: A substantial number of the projects funded under this program have been completed. A small number have been delayed due to circumstances beyond the control of the recipient organisations.
Budget price: $6.899 million Actual price: $6.781 million
Australia’s contribution to the International Criminal Court Achieved

Comment: Australia paid its assessed contribution of $3.999 million (€2,901,129) to the International Criminal Court in accordance with its obligations under the Rome Statute. Australia also paid $1.833 million (€1,362,960) as part of the final instalment of its assessed share of the costs associated with construction of the Court’s permanent premises. In addition, Australia made voluntary contributions of $132,608.41 (€100,000) to the Court’s Trust Fund for Victims and $66,604.50 (€50,000) to its Trust Fund for the Participation of Least Developed Countries in the Assembly.

Further contributions were made during the reporting year to initiatives supporting the work of the Court. The Coalition for the International Criminal Court, a partnership of non-government organisations that works closely with the Court, received $50,000, while $20,000 was provided to the organisers of an international conference on the Court that will be hosted by the University of New South Wales in February 2012.
Budget price: $7.764 million Actual price: $6.137 million
Pacific police development Substantially achieved

Comment: The Department’s work is ongoing and includes development and implementation of criminal and police legislative frameworks.
Budget price: $0.524 million Actual price: $0.290 million
Disaster Resilience Australia – Emergency Warning System Database Achieved

Comment: Since it was launched in December 2009, the national telephone-based emergency warning system, Emergency Alert, which uses the Emergency Warning System Database, has been activated 227 times and has issued approximately 4.5 million messages.
Budget price: $8.644 million Actual price: $8.572 million
Disaster Resilience Australia Package Achieved

Comment: Working with the National Emergency Management Committee, the Department successfully completed a range of projects to improve Australia’s emergency management capability.
Budget price: $9.202 million Actual price: $8.851 million
National Counter-Terrorism Committee – special fund and operating expenses Achieved

Comment: The National Counter-Terrorism Committee administered fund is an annual appropriation to support agreed activities, including partial funding of the Australian Secret Network. Expenditure from the administered fund is approved by the Committee and managed in accordance with the Department’s Chief Executive Instructions and the Committee’s financial guidelines.

As part of the Australian Government’s appropriation to the Department for 2010–11, the National Counter-Terrorism Committee administered fund received $15.788 million, of which $10.281 million was allocated to the Committee’s activities, $3.507 million for the ASNET secure communications network operations and $2 million to countering violent extremism activities. These funds were in addition to the $1.026 million appropriated specifically for drill-style exercises.
Budget price: $15.337 million Actual price: $14.113 million
Counter-terrorism exercises Achieved

Comment: A number of focused drill-style exercises were successfully held 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.
Budget price: $1.026 million Actual price: $1.026 million
National security public information campaign Achieved

Comment: In 2010–11, a total of $0.9 million in administered funding was allocated for maintenance advertising activity using existing phase three campaign materials. This included mainstream national radio, non-English speaking radio and specialised industry press. Market research was also undertaken to measure the campaign’s effectiveness and to track the impact of the communication activity. The research contract with Di Marzio Research Pty Ltd was for $100,000 excluding GST.
Budget price: $1.002 million Actual price: $0.943 million
National Crisis Coordination Capability Substantially achieved

Comment: The Parliament House Briefing Room was delivered in October 2010 on schedule and within budget. The Crisis Coordination Centre is on schedule for delivery in September 2011 and is currently within budget.
Budget price: $2.047 million Actual price: $0.529 million
National aerial fire fighting Achieved

Comment: The Department worked with the National Aerial Firefighting Centre to provide an effective aerial fire fighting capability. The capability also supported the response effort during the severe floods across Australia.
Budget price: $14.000 million Actual price: $14.000 million
Countering violent extremism to prevent terrorism Achieved

Comment: In 2010–11, the Department administered the Building Community Resilience (Youth Mentoring) Grants and the Building Community Resilience Grants. These enabled expenditure of administered funds to support and build community capacity to resist violent extremist influences.
Budget price: $2.146 million Actual price: $2.146 million
Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy – flooding and severe weather Achieved

Comment: The Department implemented and administered the Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy, which provided income support to those affected by flooding and severe weather events over the 2010–11 disaster season. The Subsidy helped disaster affected areas maintain their work force in the early recovery phase.
Budget price: $90.362 million Actual price: $74.746 million
New Zealand ex gratia payments – flooding and severe weather Achieved

Comment: The Department successfully developed, implemented and administered an ex gratia payment to New Zealand Special Class Non-Protected Visa Holders. The payment of $1000 per adult and $400 per child assisted eligible New Zealand citizens and their dependents to recover from major disasters.
Budget price: $16.288 million Actual price: $5.121 million
Special appropriations Results
National Firearms Program Implementation Act 1996 Substantially achieved

Comment: One outstanding Court matter in Queensland has now been finalised allowing final payments to be addressed.
Budget price: $0.075 million Actual price: $0.014 million
Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 – Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment Achieved

Comment: The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment was successfully activated for six disasters. The payment of $1000 dollars per adult and $400 per child provided one-off financial assistance for eligible Australian residents and played an important role in assisting individuals and communities to recover from major disasters.
Budget price: $910.981 million Actual price: $829.123 million

 


Our people

Building public trust and confidence in the Tonga Police

Increasing regional stability and security

The International Legal Assistance Branch of the Department’s International Crime Cooperation Division works to strengthen legal frameworks and responses to transnational crime through the Pacific Police Development Program. Recently, officers helped draft the Tonga Police Act 2010, which became law in September 2010.

‘This project has improved the capability of the Tonga Police to maintain law and order in a way that is consistent with international best practice and human rights obligations,’ says Kate Palmer, a legal officer in the Division’s Pacific Section.

The Division worked with the Government of Tonga, the Australian Federal Police and the New Zealand Police to review the Police Act 1988 (Tonga) and draft new legislation. The new Act includes significant reforms to improve the efficiency of police operations, and clarify and modernise their statutory powers and responsibilities. This should improve the Tongan community’s confidence in the ability of police to better respond to events similar to the 2006 riots.

‘A more effective police force improves the stability of Tonga and helps the country’s economic development,’ says Kate. ‘A prosperous and secure Tonga enhances the security of our region.

‘Increasing regional stability and security is important for Australia, because it reduces our need to intervene in regional conflicts and facilitates cooperation between Pacific and Australian law enforcement agencies on transnational crime issues.’

Kate is now liaising with officers working on the reforms in Tonga, the Australian Federal Police and the New Zealand Police to implement the Act.

‘Building and maintaining good relationships with Tongan stakeholders from Canberra can be challenging,’ she says, ‘but I’ve found working with our Tongan counterparts to be a particular highlight.’


2 Counseling is jointly funded by the Department and the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, with 54 counseling services overall

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