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Chapter 9 - National Security and Criminal Justice - departmental programs

 

National Security and Criminal Justice – departmental programs

Program 1.2

Attorney-General’s Department operating expenses – National Security and Criminal Justice

 

Summary

The Attorney-General’s Department is responsible for providing whole-of-portfolio advice to our ministers and to the Australian Government on key aspects of the national security agenda, including national security legislative and policy frameworks, capability development and emergency management. This comprises work undertaken on counter-terrorism, countering violent extremism, chemicals of security concern, emergency management policy and crisis coordination, building community resilience against all hazards, cyber security, identity security risk management, critical infrastructure resilience, protective security policy and combating organised crime.

As a key member of the national security community, the Department works closely with the National Security Adviser across government and within the Attorney-General’s portfolio to advance the Government’s national security priorities and improve the coordination of security, capability development and emergency management activity.

During 2010–11, the Department worked closely with agencies within the Attorney-General’s portfolio and across other portfolios to improve information-sharing and interoperability amongst intelligence agencies and with the broader national security community. The Department has developed policy to ensure federal and State law enforcement and national security bodies are able to effectively cooperate, enhancing coordination and sharing abilities in all jurisdictions and internationally. The Department also furthered changes to counter-terrorism and national security legislative and policy frameworks to ensure they are robust and can be used to bring people to justice. These changes will also improve agency access to vital information to help investigate serious criminal activity, while at the same time enhancing oversight and accountability mechanisms.

During the year, the Department continued to collaborate with governments, business and other national and international stakeholders to better coordinate counter-terrorism, organised crime and emergency management activities through projects, programs and initiatives which enhance the resilience and security of Australia and its people. Work included executing lead agency functions across the Government to implement the Cyber Security Strategy, the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy, the National Identity Security Strategy, the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, and the Protective Security Policy Framework. In 2010–11, the Department supported the Government in developing and implementing significant legislative reforms, including amendments to more effectively prevent, investigate and prosecute organised crime activity. The Department also helped establish the multi-agency Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce, which brings together agencies with relevant expertise and capabilities to strengthen the pursuit of proceeds of crime.

Legislative and policy advice and program administration was provided on:

  • implementing the national response to organised crime
  • developing options for reforms of federal law and procedure
  • combating money laundering and terrorism financing in Australia and the region
  • leading the whole-of-government response to people trafficking
  • working with Indonesia and the region on stemming people smuggling to Australia
  • combating identity crime
  • strengthening illicit drug laws
  • responding to cyber crime from a Commonwealth and national perspective, and
  • amending police search powers to ensure they keep pace with technological change.

The Department continues to work closely with portfolio agencies across Federal, State and Territory governments on a range of criminal justice issues, including ensuring there are effective national responses to organised crime and cyber crime.

It advanced Australia’s engagement in international cooperative efforts against crime through a broad range of activities. For example, the Department worked closely with law enforcement agencies both in Australia and overseas to meet Australia’s international responsibilities for cooperation in relation to extradition, mutual assistance in criminal matters, and international transfer of prisoners. It completed several significant and high-profile cases involving coordination with domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies, and also worked in partnership with countries in Asia, Africa and the Pacific to help them respond to transnational organised crime, including people smuggling, people trafficking, terrorism, money laundering and corruption. These responses included measures directed at strengthening legal frameworks, enhancing law enforcement powers and improving international legal cooperation.

Work also continued on proposed changes to legislative and policy frameworks, and in multilateral forums to promote effective international legal cooperation in criminal matters.

In 2010–11, the Department worked with countries in the Pacific, South and South-East Asia and Africa to promote security, stability and prosperity. Collaborations with partner countries helped them to develop and implement laws to combat transnational organised crime and, in the Pacific, to reform criminal and policing laws.

Major achievements

National security, resilience policy and building capacity

On 13 February 2011, the Council of Australian Governments adopted the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, which recognises that a national, coordinated and cooperative effort is needed to enhance Australia’s capacity to withstand and recover from disasters.

The Standing Council on Police and Emergency Management (formerly the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management) is leading the Strategy’s implementation. The Council has tasked the National Emergency Management Committee with a number of priority actions to implement the Strategy, and to enhance Australia’s disaster resilience in light of recent disaster events.

National security and counter-terrorism legislation and cases

The Department progressed a number of pieces of national security legislation addressing the need for more seamless coordination and information sharing between key agencies, as outlined in the National Security Statement. The Telecommunications Interception and Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Act 2011, which received Royal Assent in March 2011, contains amendments to enhance intelligence sharing and interoperability among Australia’s intelligence agencies. The Government also introduced the Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 into Parliament in March 2011. This Bill continues the objective of improving the operation of national security legislation by addressing a number of issues that have been identified through practical experience with the legislation.

The National Security Legislation Amendment Act 2010 and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement Act 2010 passed Parliament and received Royal Assent in November 2010. This legislation contains amendments to respond to a number of independent bipartisan reviews, and was designed to ensure a balanced approach to national security and counter-terrorism legislation.

The Aviation Crimes and Policing Legislation Amendment Act 2011 received Royal Assent in March 2011. The Act contains amendments that strengthened the legislative framework surrounding Australia’s domestic and international aviation security regime. It did this by increasing a number of the maximum penalties that existed for serious aviation-related offences, as well as creating three new offences. The Act also contains amendments that ensure that the Australian Federal Police is able to exercise the full range of its powers when investigating certain offences at Australia’s 11 Counter Terrorist First Response airports. These amendments support the move to an all-in policing and security model at these airports, which is expected to be implemented in the next three to five years.

In April 2011, the Government appointed Mr Bret Walker SC as the inaugural Independent National Security Legislation Monitor. The Monitor is an independent statutory office holder within the Prime Minister’s portfolio, who is responsible for the ongoing review of national security and counter-terrorism laws. This will help ensure the legislation is robust but at the same time contains suitable safeguards.

The Department also progressed work on a legislative regime for financial assistance to Australian victims of terrorism overseas. In March 2011, the Social Security Amendment (Supporting Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas) Bill 2011 was introduced which, if passed, will provide for financial assistance of up to $75,000 to Australians harmed as a direct result of a declared overseas terrorist act and to the close family members of people who die as a direct result of a declared overseas terrorist act.

On the casework side, the Department continued to advise on aspects of various counter-terrorism and national security related litigation. Many of these matters involved complicated issues requiring liaison across departments and agencies and carefully considered and appropriate responses from the  Australian Government. The casework included settlement of the Habib and Haneef civil claims.

Cyber security

The Department continued to implement the Australian Government Cyber Security Strategy throughout the year. The Strategy aims to maintain a secure, resilient and trusted electronic operating environment that supports Australia’s national security and maximises the benefits of the digital economy.

As a key component of the Strategy, the Department operates Australia’s national computer emergency response team, CERT Australia, which builds on the work of its predecessor (GovCERT.au) in providing information and assistance on cyber security threats and vulnerabilities. CERT Australia coordinated Australia’s participation in the cyber security exercise Cyber Storm III in September and October 2010. Participation in the exercise has informed the further refinement of the Australian Government’s Cyber Security Crisis Management Plan.

The Department also contributed to National Cyber Security Awareness Week, which was held in June 2011. A partnership with the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and a number of other government agencies, it involved a range of activities throughout the week, including briefings for business and the launch of the second edition of the whole-of-government publication Protecting yourself online – what everyone needs to know.

The Department is also continuing to work with national security and law enforcement agencies, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and NBN Co. to help ensure that national security issues are addressed in the design and operation of the National Broadband Network. This is consistent with the Government’s usual practice of promoting the security and resilience of Australia’s critical infrastructure.

Identity security

The Department has continued to lead implementation of the National Identity Security Strategy. A key element of the Strategy is the Document Verification Service. A significant milestone was achieved when all key State and Territory agencies agreed that they would allow verification of key evidence of identity documents. In the coming year the Department will explore options for expanding the Service to allow access by the private sector where verification is required by law.

The Department is currently consulting federal, State and Territory agencies in the development of a new National Identity Security Strategy that will promote greater responsibility through a whole-of-government identity risk management approach, extend the identity security evidence base and expand community education on identity protection.

Critical infrastructure

The Department has continued to implement the Australian Government’s Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy, which seeks to enhance the resilience of our critical infrastructure to all hazards. This work is progressed in partnership with relevant Australian Government agencies, States and Territories, and business to achieve complementary and mutually beneficial outcomes.

In addition, the Resilience Expert Advisory Group has been established to provide strategic advice on developing the organisational resilience concept, and guidance on practical tools to assist the owners and operators of critical infrastructure to adopt a resilience approach. The Department worked with the Group to publish the Organisational Resilience Position Paper, which expands a key component of the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy. The Department also hosted the inaugural Critical Infrastructure Resilience Conference in December 2010.

A key recommendation from a review of the Critical Infrastructure Program for Modelling and Analysis (CIPMA), undertaken in 2009–10, was to bring the technical capability under the direct management of the Department. In 2011, the National Critical Infrastructure Capability Branch was established to manage CIPMA and the Department’s geographic information requirements.

During 2010–11, the focus of CIPMA has been on delivering strategic planning analysis on operational questions posed by government and business sector stakeholders, and consulting with sector groups on the new CIPMA business model.

An important initiative under the Critical infrastructure Resilience Strategy is the continued operation and development of the CIPMA.

Chemicals of security concern

Under the Chemicals of Security Concern Program, chemical security risk assessments on 11 improvised explosive device precursor chemicals have been completed. These chemicals were identified for priority risk assessment given their higher likely use in terrorist attacks. Work to date has focused on targeting retailers and wholesalers of hydrogen peroxide due to the high risk identified for this chemical through the Chemical Security Risk Assessment process.

Other achievements in 2010–11 included:

  • launching an updated Site and Supply Chain Security Guidance document for the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association by the Attorney-General in December 2010
  • placing more than 18 articles in key industry magazines and newsletters to raise awareness of chemical security. These publications have helped deliver chemical security messages to thousands of people and businesses in vulnerable sectors at no cost to the Department
  • developing and distributing security awareness training DVDs for the pharmacy, pool and spa, and hardware sectors, and
  • developing draft control measures with industry that will now be subject to a Regulation Impact Statement.

All-hazards crisis response

In 2008 the Homeland and Border Security Review recommended the centralisation of information and coordination during a crisis. The Australian Government Crisis Coordination Centre officially commenced operations in an interim capacity in September 2010.

The Centre is the Government’s central crisis coordination resource and primary source of information and situational awareness in domestic emergencies and crises. Design of the new facility has been completed and construction commenced in December 2010. The new facility is scheduled to be opened in September 2011. The Crisis Coordination Centre Information Management System was launched in May 2011.

The Parliament House Briefing Room was opened in October 2010 and was used during recent events such as the Queensland and Victorian flooding and Tropical Cyclone Yasi.

All states in Australia were impacted by widespread flooding during the 2010–11 disaster season, including some unprecedented flash-flooding in the Toowoomba region and one of the strongest cyclone systems to cross our coastline in many years. Bushfires also impacted communities in Western Australia, causing the loss of homes and some infrastructure. The Department coordinated whole-of-government crisis management support to States and Territories in response to these disasters.

As well as these events, the Department responded to a number of international events during this year, including:

  • floods in Pakistan in August
  • the Pike River Mine Disaster in New Zealand in November
  • the forest fires in Haifa, Israel, in December
  • the Christmas Island Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel, also in December, for which the Crisis Coordination Centre was the central point for whole-of-government information
  • the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand in February, and
  • the Japan earthquake and tsunami in March.

The Department supported the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and AusAID as the lead agencies for international emergencies. The Department was responsible for coordinating and supporting the deployment of domestic resources, drawn from jurisdictions, to the affected countries. These included Australian medical assistance teams to Pakistan and New Zealand, and urban search and rescue teams to New Zealand and Japan. The Department also coordinated the repatriation of Australian citizens and other civilians evacuated from New Zealand to Australia under the Australian Government Plan for the Reception of Australian Citizens Evacuated from Overseas.

Emergency management

The Department provides secretariat and policy support for the National Emergency Management Committee. The Committee is currently implementing the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, which was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments on 13 February 2011, to improve Australia’s ability to withstand and recover from future disasters.

Under the auspices of the Committee, 28 initiatives were funded through the National Emergency Management Projects Program this year. All projects that are funded through this Program must address capability gaps of national significance, minimise adverse effects of disasters, and contribute to strengthening the resilience of individuals, communities, businesses and institutions.

The Department worked with the States and Territories to establish the feasibility of sending warning messages to mobile telephones based on the location of the handset at the time of an emergency. More information on the emergency warning system can be found in Chapter 10.

A report was also 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.

In December 2010, an agreement relating to cooperation in the field of emergency management was signed between the Department and the Chile National Office of Emergency of the Interior Ministry. Under the agreement the Department arranged for an Australian forest fires expert to visit Chile to discuss preventing, detecting and managing bush fires.

The Department has been progressing mutual assistance and cooperation arrangements with New Zealand under a Framework for Crisis Management since in February 2011. Discussions are continuing with France on developing an operational framework for mutual assistance in disasters.

Australian Government disaster relief assistance

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment provides immediate, one-off payments to individuals and families adversely affected by major disasters to support their recovery.

During 2010–11, the Department activated the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment six times in five States reaching about 715,000 people. This assistance, at a total cost of approximately $823 million, played a significant role in supporting social and community recovery from disasters, which included:

  • Queensland floods (November 2010)
  • New South Wales floods (November 2010)
  • Western Australian floods (December 2010)
  • Western Australian bushfires (January 2011)
  • Victorian floods (January 2011), and
  • Tropical Cyclone Yasi (February 2011).

Further information on the National Disaster Resilience and Recovery Arrangements and the Disaster Recovery Payment can be found in Chapter 10.

Ex gratia payments

During the year, the Department administered ex gratia assistance in the form of the Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy and immediate, one-off payments to eligible New Zealand visa holders.

The Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy provided assistance to employees, small business people and farmers who experienced a loss of income as a result of the flooding and severe weather since November 2010. During 2010–11, Subsidy payments totalled $73 million.

In addition, ex gratia payments were made to eligible New Zealand ‘non protected’ Special Category Visa (subclass 444) holders to provide immediate one-off financial assistance to people who had been adversely affected by disasters. More than 3000 eligible individuals received payments totalling $3.9 million.


Our people

Managing the Government’s disaster response

Helping our international neighbours

Emergency Management Australia Division coordinates an Australian Government response to natural and man-made disasters at home and overseas. For two of the Division’s officers, Cameron Beresford and James Gustus, the Christchurch earthquake, and Japan earthquake and tsunami, sent them overseas to help coordinate Australian Government assistance to the two countries.

‘We work to ensure the preservation of life and property—whether that’s responding to a disaster at home or helping our international neighbours in their time of need,’ says Cameron.

Australia sent three urban search and rescue teams, a medical team and police support to Christchurch, and an urban search and rescue team to Japan. The Department’s role was to coordinate all Australian Government elements on the ground and to ensure they were used to achieve maximum effect.

Both James and Cameron were overwhelmed by the strength and gratitude shown by the communities they were assisting. ‘The response from the Japanese community was staggering,’ says James. ‘People were queuing to thank us, speaking with such conviction and saying we would never be forgotten.’

Cameron says they were walking away from one of the Christchurch disaster sites when they noticed that a small crowd of people had gathered. ‘Every person there, most in tears, was thanking the rescue workers for their help,’ he says.

‘It was a moment when every member of the team felt the value of their work and the impact of a disaster of that nature.’

Cameron sums up his work with the Division: ‘There are few jobs where you can leave everyday knowing what you are doing can have such a positive impact on people’s lives at a time when they need it most.’


Counter-terrorism

In 2010–11, the Department supported the National Counter-Terrorism Committee (NCTC) to coordinate policies and programs to develop national counter-terrorism capability. This was achieved through activities encompassing training and exercises, planning, policy development and procurement programs. The Department also managed the NCTC administered fund, provided ongoing secretariat support to six of the seven subcommittees and their working groups, and continued to manage 14 capabilities on behalf of the NCTC.

During the year, the third annual cycle of the NCTC Capability Review and Development Process was completed. Forty-seven projects and activities were successful in gaining funding for exercises, training courses and procurement of specialist equipment.

In June 2010, the National Counter-Terrorism Handbook review was finalised and distributed to stakeholders in August. The structure of the book allows updates to be made as changes to Australia’s arrangements, procedures, plans and legislation occur. This approach will assist in maintaining the currency, relevance and usefulness of the book before the next major review in 2013.

The Department also coordinated the review of the National Counter-Terrorism Plan during the year, which sets out a high-level strategy for preventing, preparing for, responding to and recovering from threats and acts of terrorism in Australia and its territories. The Plan will be published in 2011–12.

The Department also coordinated the international counter-terrorism exercise Mercury 10, information on which can be found in Chapter 10.

Countering violent extremism

The Department has developed a national approach to countering violent extremism, which 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 to identify and address the processes that lead to violent extremism. A key aim of the strategy is to enhance the knowledge base around the processes leading to radicalisation and violent extremism.

The Department co-chairs and provides secretariat services to the Countering Violent Extremism
Sub-Committee of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee. The Sub-Committee coordinates activities nationally and shares expertise across jurisdictions. In 2010–11, it funded 12 pilot projects across Australia including a prison de-radicalisation program, research and media projects and community engagement activities.

Further information on the Department’s countering violent extremism activities can be found in Chapter 10.

National Security Hotline

An audit of the National Security Hotline conducted by the Australian National Audit Office and tabled in Parliament in July 2010 concluded that the Department effectively manages the Hotline and that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Federal Police have developed sound procedures to evaluate and assess calls referred from the Hotline.

Bilateral arrangements between the National Security Hotline facility and Centrelink were further developed and strengthened during the year. This enables the service to be maintained during times of peak activity. These arrangements were tested and evaluated under operational conditions.

National security framework

A key aspect of the Australian Government’s national security architecture is the National Security Framework. This strategic framework creates a more integrated national security structure to enhance policy coordination across the Australian Government and comprises four elements, including the National Security Statement, national security priority setting, resource allocation, and performance evaluation. The Department played an integral role in advancing these initiatives during the year by contributing to the Coordinated National Security Budget for 2011–12, annual performance evaluation of the national security community, and an annual coordinated setting of national security priorities. The Department is also coordinating the first non-Defence National Security Capability Plan, which is a key aspect of the framework.

Surveillance and telecommunication interception

The Department develops legislation and policy to ensure national security and law enforcement bodies can use electronic investigative tools to prevent, investigate and prosecute serious offences. The Department develops legislation in a multi-jurisdictional environment where emerging national security issues and technological developments require a proactive approach to ensure effective investigation tools are available while balancing privacy for individuals and ensuring appropriate accountability mechanisms are in place.

Amendments were made to the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 during the year to enable better cooperation, assistance and information sharing within the national security and law enforcement communities. In particular, legislation was enacted to ensure that national security agencies are able to assist law enforcement on telecommunications interception and other areas of expertise such as technical support, logistics and analytical assistance and advice.

Amendments to the Act ensure that serious cartel and insider trading offences can be investigated by law enforcement, as these affect the efficient functioning of Australia’s financial markets and often involve complex networks. Accordingly, the amendments enable the Australian Federal Police to apply for warrants when investigating these crimes to ensure effective evidence is gathered to support the prosecution of these offences.

Australia is continuing steps in its proposed accession to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. In February 2011 the Department released a discussion paper on Australia’s proposed accession, with the majority of submissions providing their support. This was followed by an inquiry by the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, which also recommended accession take place. On 22 June 2011, the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill was introduced by the Attorney-General in the House of Representatives.

Protective security

The Department in consultation with other Australian Government agencies continued the review of the Protective Security Policy initiated by the Government in late 2009. The new personnel security protocol was released in September 2010. The review of physical security included the release of an issues paper in August 2010 and a discussion paper in March 2011. Consultation on the review of information security included the release of an issues paper in November 2010 and the discussion paper in March 2011. The final report on the review of information and physical security was distributed to stakeholders for comment in May 2011. The report proposed a single security classification system and a range of initiatives to make compliance clearer and simpler.

The Department coordinated protective security arrangements for the Prime Minister’s international program, including her attendance at a number of significant meetings of world and regional leaders, including the Asia-Europe Meeting in Belgium, the East Asia Summit in Vietnam, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Japan, and the NATO Summit in Portugal.

The Department worked closely with a range of Australian Government and State and Territory agencies and representatives of foreign governments to coordinate security arrangements for 117 visits by foreign dignitaries to Australia, including the US Secretary of State and US Secretary of Defense for AUSMIN, the Prime Minister of Mongolia, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the President of Malta, the Vice President of Indonesia, and Prince William of Wales. Protective security arrangements were also arranged for a number of special events, including all federal Community Cabinet meetings and Anzac Day commemorative services at Gallipoli, Turkey.

Physical security risk reviews and security infrastructure upgrades continued to be completed in partnership with other Government agencies, at Official Establishments, ministerial offices and residences, Commonwealth Parliamentary offices and diplomatic locations. The majority of security infrastructure works at the Melbourne Commonwealth Parliamentary offices were completed, setting the benchmark for future activity. Significant protective security advice continued to be provided to the Australian Parliament House departments, complementing the major physical security review of 2010.

Throughout the year 500 students from 108 organisations attended training at the Protective Security Training Centre .The Centre provides nationally recognised vocational training in protective security, security risk management, and personnel security. This included custom designed training for a range of Australian, State and Territory Government agencies.

Background checking

In accordance with the AusCheck Guidelines four requests were received for access to the AusCheck database, during the reporting period, for information for national security or law enforcement purposes. Requesting agencies were the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, and Centrelink.

During 2010–11, AusCheck completed 67,834 background checks for the Aviation Security Identification Card scheme, 29,936 background checks for the Maritime Security Identification Card scheme, and 198 background checks for the National Health Security check.

AusCheck continues to record strong satisfaction levels from its client base. This year’s AusCheck client satisfaction survey, conducted by Orima Research in April 2011, reported 90 per cent of respondents agree or strongly agree that AusCheck’s services are of high quality, with the remainder expressing no dissatisfaction (see Figure 5). This outcome represents an increase in satisfaction, year on year, of 10 per cent. Respondents to this year’s survey also rated AusCheck’s staff highly, with 91 per cent agreeing or strongly agreeing that ‘AusCheck’s staff are helpful and professional’, representing a 9 per cent increase in satisfaction.

Figure 5: ‘AusCheck’s services are of high quality’, AusCheck client satisfaction survey, 2008–2011

Figure 5: ‘AusCheck’s services are of high quality’, AusCheck client satisfaction survey, 2008–2011

 

Security vetting

The Australian Government announced on 1 December 2009 that it would centralise the Commonwealth security vetting process. As part of this initiative, staff from the Australian Security Vetting Service were transferred during the year from the Department to the Department of Defence and incorporated into the structure for the newly established Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA).

Establishing the AGSVA was a significant machinery of government reform. The policy change and transition process was completed by the AusCheck Branch in partnership with the Department of Defence. The new AGSVA unit commenced security vetting for all Federal Government agencies
(apart from exempt agencies) on 1 October 2010 and is now the central agency for processing, evaluating and granting security clearances for the Government.

In September 2010, the Attorney-General approved a new Personnel Security Protocol to support the introduction of centralised security vetting on 1 October 2010. The new policy defines a hierarchy of checks for each level of clearance that validates the relevance of information collected as part of the vetting process, sets competencies required by vetting staff and contractors, and requires mutual recognition of security clearances. In continuing efforts to improve transparency of protective security policies and procedures, the Personnel Security Protocol and guidelines are available publicly at <http://www.ag.gov.au/NationalSecurity/ProtectiveSecurityPolicyFramework/Pages/default.aspx>.

Combating organised crime

The Department is responsible for implementing the Organised Crime Strategic Framework (OCSF), which outlines the Government’s response to the threat posed by organised crime. The Framework is built around three key elements:

  • an Organised Crime Threat Assessment prepared by the Australian Crime Commission, which provides a shared picture of the most significant threats from organised criminal activity to Australia
  • a Commonwealth Organised Crime Response Plan to coordinate Commonwealth efforts to respond to the priority organised crime risks, and
  • multi-agency responses and working groups to respond to operational, policy, regulatory and legislative issues.
Combating fraud

As part of the OCSF, the Department is working with partners in the banking and financial industry to strengthen fraud prevention and detection capabilities by sharing data and intelligence on fraud across industry, and between industry and law enforcement. During 2010–11, the Department consulted with key stakeholders to identify opportunities for greater collaboration between public and private sectors to combat fraud, which will be further examined in 2011–12.

The Department is also responsible for policy measures to control fraud against the Commonwealth and has released updated Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines, and hosts public and government-only websites to provide information on best practice fraud control.

National Organised Crime Response Plan

In 2010–11, the Department also led the development of the National Organised Crime Response Plan in partnership with federal, State and Territory law enforcement and justice agencies. The Plan was endorsed by all Australian police ministers and Attorneys-General in late 2010 and was publicly launched in December.

The Department continues to work closely with Government and State and Territory partners to align efforts in responding to identified and emerging organised crime threats.

Working in partnership with other countries on international issues

In 2010–11, the Department continued to work in partnership with countries in the Pacific, South and South-East Asia and Africa to enhance national security and combat organised crime through strengthened domestic legal frameworks.

The Department, in accordance with Australia’s Framework for Law and Justice Engagement with the Pacific, has continued to work in partnership with a number of Pacific Island countries to help develop and strengthen their legal frameworks to combat transnational crime and reform domestic criminal law and police laws.

The Department continued to host the Secretariat for the Pacific Island Officers’ Network (PILON) in 2010 and assisted in its successful transition to an independent PILON Secretariat based in Samoa in January 2011. The Department also hosted a successful PILON meeting held in December.

The Strongim Gavman Program continued to provide significant assistance to our government partners in Papua New Guinea. Officers from the Department make a valuable contribution to the law and justice sector in Papua New Guinea under the program. The Department worked collaboratively with other countries in our region to strengthen people smuggling and other transnational crime laws and was active in regional efforts to tackle people smuggling and human trafficking through the Bali Process, including co-hosting and co-chairing the Bali Process Technical Expert Workshop on Mutual Legal Assistance and Law Enforcement Cooperation in Bangkok in May.

The Department participated in the inaugural Pakistan-Australia Joint Working Group on Border Management and Transnational Crime and held productive discussions when the Legal Issues Sub-Committee of the Joint Working Group met in April 2011 in Islamabad. A year-long program of cooperation was launched with Indonesia on strengthening legal frameworks to counter terrorism at the Indonesia Australia Counter-Terrorism Legal Dialogue in Sydney in February.

The Department also facilitated Prosecutor Pairing Programs, under which prosecutors from partner countries were placed in the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for between two weeks and two months to build capacity to take proceeds of crime action.

Work continued with a number of partner countries to strengthen their legislative frameworks and deliver in-country training on anti-money laundering and proceeds of crime. On several occasions this assistance led to the partner country undertaking proceeds of crime investigations within its own jurisdiction. The Department has worked to strengthen anti-money laundering and criminal asset confiscation measures and to use those measures to address regional threats including people smuggling, drug trafficking and corruption.

Technical legal assistance and capacity building in Africa was also supported by providing legislative and policy advice on public interest disclosure and anti-money laundering. In 2010–11, the Department delivered a discussion paper, presentations and a range of seminars on international counter-terrorism, mutual assistance and extradition frameworks to a number of African countries.

In July 2010, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) invited a Department representative to attend the first Central Asia Regional International Cooperation in Criminal Matters Workshop in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Workshop brought together international crime cooperation experts from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to examine national extradition, mutual assistance and asset recovery frameworks and discuss capacity building and technical assistance to strengthen countries’ capacities to respond to transnational crime.

UNODC and OSCE formally advised that Australia’s expert contribution led to significant outcomes such as the analysis of cases, the establishment of a common basis for a medium-term dialogue and the development of recommendations for a thematic program to be included in the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring countries (2010–2013).

International crime cooperation arrangements

Work continued during the year to strengthen international crime cooperation and the Department participated in a number of multilateral forums aimed at combating transnational crime. This included the 20th session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols. The Department also continued to enhance its anti-corruption engagement by participating in G20 and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation anti-corruption working groups and deliberations on the implementation review mechanism established by States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. These deliberations were timely as Australia’s implementation of the Convention is due to be reviewed later in 2011 by experts from two other States Parties and officials from UNODC. Preparations have already commenced for this review, including an extensive self-assessment of Australia’s compliance with key articles of the Convention.

Collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is helping to build and maintain Australia’s relationship with the International Criminal Court, and both Departments participated in the ninth session of the Assembly of States Parties in December 2010. The Department also continued to progress the negotiation and implementation of bilateral treaties on mutual assistance, extradition and the international transfer of prisoners in accordance with Australian Government priorities.

Reforms to Australia’s domestic legal framework for international crime cooperation are moving closer, and in January 2011 the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice released for public consultation a second exposure draft of legislation to streamline and modernise Australia’s extradition and mutual assistance laws. This draft included changes and new proposals as a result of feedback received during the first public consultation period in July 2009.

A number of extradition cases continued to attract significant public attention during the year, including Hungary’s request for the extradition of Charles Zentai, who is wanted for prosecution for an alleged war crime, and Croatia’s request to extradite Daniel Snedden (also known as Dragan Vasiljkovic), who is also wanted for prosecution for alleged war crimes.

Philip Eric de Figueiredo was surrendered from Jersey to face prosecution for fraud and money laundering offences arising from his alleged involvement in a number of tax evasion schemes. This was Jersey’s first surrender to Australia. Peter Daniels Clarke was surrendered from Germany to face sentencing for five corporate offences for which he was earlier convicted but absconded the day before sentencing. Australia surrendered a 26 year old man to Ireland to face prosecution for drug offences. This was Australia’s first surrender to Ireland.

Australia’s first successful prisoner transfer with Japan occurred in 2010–11. The Department also saw an increase in the number of requests made and received by Australia for mutual assistance in criminal matters. In particular, there was an increase in the number of requests to obtain evidential material for use in prosecutions for child sex and child exploitation offences. Evidence obtained under mutual assistance arrangements continued to be important to Australian prosecutions. For example, evidence given via video link between the Netherlands and Australia was critical in securing a conviction in a murder trial.

A significant number of extradition matters were managed during the year involving challenges before the Federal Court, Full Federal Court and High Court at various stages of the extradition process. 
At 30 June 2011, appeals were yet to be heard or decisions were reserved in respect of appeals of the following matters:

  • Zentai v The Honourable Brendan O’Connor (No 4) [2010] FCA 1385
  • Vasiljkovic v The Honourable Brendan O’Connor [2010] FCA 1246, and
  • Brock v Minister for Home Affairs [2010] FCA 1301.

The Department also continued to manage a judicial review hearing in the Federal Court seeking to challenge the Minister’s determination to surrender Adrian Kiki Ariawan (aka Adamas) to Indonesia.

Federal offenders’ management

The Department administers the sentences of federal offenders under Part 1B of the Crimes Act 1914. It deals with release of federal offenders on parole, breaches of parole conditions, early release on licence, interstate transfer of federal prisoners, forensic mental health cases and applications by parolees to travel overseas. The Department also advises the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice on petitions to exercise the Royal Prerogative of Mercy and applications to refer federal offenders’ cases to courts of appeal. In 2010–11, the Attorney-General, the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, and the Department made 166 parole decisions.

Combating people smuggling

The Department supports the whole-of-government effort to combat people smuggling. It worked in partnership with Australian Government agencies on a broad range of people smuggling issues, including through senior participation in regular Border Protection Taskforce meetings chaired by the National Security Adviser, Mr Duncan Lewis AO DSC CSC.

The Department played a lead role in coordinating people smuggling crew prosecution issues, liaising with both federal agencies and State and Territory Governments. It also worked with federal agencies to assist the Western Australian Coroner with his inquiry into the SIEV 221 tragedy on Christmas Island on 15 December 2010.

Combating money laundering in the alternative remittance sector

Legislation was developed during the year to implement a more comprehensive anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulatory regime for the alternative remittance sector. Alternative remittance systems are financial services operating outside the formal financial sector where value or funds are moved from one geographic location to another and often lack formal customer verification and record-keeping. Australian law enforcement agencies have identified international cash transfer services provided by remittance dealers as a key method used to pay the organisers of people smuggling ventures and a vehicle used by organised crime groups to launder the proceeds of crime.

The Combating the Financing of People Smuggling and Other Measures Act 2011 was enacted in June 2011 and introduces an enhanced regulation scheme to help detect and deter criminal infiltration into the sector. The enhanced regulation will ensure that alternative remittance dealers are not misused to give people smugglers the funds they need to organise illegal smuggling ventures, or to support other forms of criminal activity. Stemming the flow of money to people smuggling is one part of the whole-of-government anti-people smuggling strategy.

Evaluations/reviews

ANAO Audit of National Security Hotline

An audit of the National Security Hotline conducted by the Australian National Audit Office and tabled in Parliament in July 2010 concluded that the Department effectively manages the Hotline and that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Federal Police have developed sound procedures to evaluate and assess referred calls from the Hotline. A few minor procedural issues identified during the audit have since been resolved. The report made no other recommendations.

Internal audit of emergency response administrative arrangements

In accordance with the Department’s 2010–2013 Strategic Internal Audit Plan, a review was undertaken by Deloitte to assess whether the administrative arrangements for responding to emergencies are clearly defined in the relevant plans. The audit focused on those national and Government plans for which the Department – through Emergency Management Australia – is responsible. At year end the report was being finalised.

Internal audit of the Parliament House Briefing Room project management

A review was also undertaken by Deloitte to assess the Parliament House Briefing Room project delivery against the Department’s project management framework. No recommendations were made.

National Counter-Terrorism Committee Exercise Program

A review of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee Exercise Program is being coordinated by the Department. This will focus on the exercises and supporting policies and strategies, and will incorporate recommendations from the Mercury 10 exercise and the 2011 Triennial Review of the National Counter-Terrorism Arrangements.

National Counter-Terrorism Committee Training and Policy Framework

The Department also coordinated a review of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee Training and Policy Framework to ensure the currency of training activities and to maintain a whole-of-government approach to training. The recommendations were tabled at the June 2011 Committee meeting for actioning in 2011–12.

National Partnership Agreement on Disaster Resilience

The Department, in consultation with the Department of Finance and Deregulation and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, reviewed the effectiveness of programs targeted at developing disaster resilience during 2010–11, including the National Partnership Agreement on Natural Disaster Resilience. The review found that the Agreement is consistent with Government direction, including the National Disaster Resilience Framework and the National Disaster Resilience Strategy. It also found that the Agreement:

  • has streamlined administration of various programs to enable more strategic and targeted use of funds to enhance disaster resilience
  • has increased the flexibility of States and Territories to more effectively meet the requirements of local communities threatened by disaster, and
  • adheres to the Council of Australian Government’s Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations.

Parliamentary committee reviews of terrorist organisation listings

During the year, the Department provided evidence to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security in the Committee’s Review of the listing of Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, and the re-listing of six terrorist organisations.

Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula was listed for the first time on 22 July 2010, coming into effect on 26 November 2010. Al-Qa’ida, Al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb, and Jemaah Islamiyah were re-listed on 22 July 2010. Abu Sayyaf Group, Al-Qa’ida in Iraq, and Jamiat ul-Ansar were re-listed on 29 October 2010. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has not yet tabled its report on the listing and re-listings.

Outlook at 30 June 2011

The Department will continue to implement and drive work across the broad national security agenda in the Australian Government. This will include work that combats organised crime, enhances national security, improves identity and technology security, strengthens emergency management and builds resilience. The work will cover countering violent extremism, critical infrastructure resilience, cyber security, emergency management policy and crisis coordination, identity security risk management, national security legislation, protective security policy and security of chemicals of concern.

The Department’s national security outlook in 2011–12 includes:

  • continuing to implement the broad national security agenda across Government in the ongoing development of national security legislation
  • implementing outcomes from the Cyber Security Strategy
  • coordinating and delivering a national approach to countering violent extremism though programs that strengthen Australia’s resilience to radicalisation and assist individuals to disengage from violent extremist influences and beliefs
  • developing and implementing risk management measures for chemicals of security concern in line with the Council of Australian Governments agreement
  • working with all levels of government, business, the non-government sector and communities to implement the Council of Australian Governments-endorsed National Strategy for Disaster Resilience
  • establishing and supporting the Standing Council on Police and Emergency Management which is tasked with implementing issues of national significance to build disaster resilience
  • continuing to work with States and Territories to assist them to develop a capability to deliver emergency warnings to mobile telephones based on the location of a handset at the time of an emergency
  • implementing an all-hazards approach to national security policy development and working in close collaboration with the States and Territories to drive the resilience agenda for critical infrastructure
  • implementing policy outcomes from the Australian Government’s Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy
  • implementing policy outcomes from the physical and information security reviews, disseminating new protective security policies, and assisting all Australian Government agencies to develop and implement their agency-specific security policies and procedures
  • enhancing the capacity of CERT Australia, Australia’s national computer emergency response team
  • enhancing the Document Verification Service to include more opportunities to verify identity documents and working to provide access to the private sector
  • developing a new National Identity Security Strategy for agreement by the Federal, State and Territory governments
  • providing information to the recently appointed Independent National Security Legislation Monitor in his ongoing review work of Australia’s counter-terrorism and national security legislation, and assisting in responses to any issues raised by the Monitor
  • progressing work on responding to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s report Secrecy laws and open government
  • activating the Crisis Coordination Centre and relocating Emergency Management Australia to the Edmund Barton Building. The Crisis Coordination Centre’s information management system will be further developed to enhance information sharing between federal, State and Territory agencies during a crisis
  • continuing to enhance the interoperability of agencies to assist in their response to national security issues and to ensure that investigative powers are able to operate in a constantly changing technological environment
  • developing the National Security Capability Plan in consultation with the national security community
  • providing continued support to the national intelligence, law enforcement and border security agencies to enhance and expand opportunities for information exchange through a National Security Fusion Capability
  • reviewing the processes and procedures of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee to streamline administration and improve its risk focus
  • providing continuing procurement support for a range of specialised equipment for the States and Territories
  • finalising the review and publishing the National Counter-Terrorism Plan
  • continuing to work with the agencies to develop a strategy and plan to support public safety agencies to access a national mobile broadband capability
  • developing a training and education curriculum for the emergency management sector from the outcomes of the Australian Emergency Management Institute training needs analysis
  • finalising national guidelines to address the communication needs of people with disability during emergencies, and
  • continuing the review of the national fire danger ratings arrangements commenced in 2009–10.

The Department will continue working with partner agencies within and outside the portfolio to progress priorities relating to federal criminal justice issues. Work will also continue with other federal, State and Territory law enforcement and justice agencies to improve coordination between agencies, including the capacity to share criminal information and intelligence.

Policy priorities for 2011–12 include organised crime, criminal assets, fraud and corruption, money laundering and terrorism financing, cyber crime, people smuggling and people trafficking, and drugs and firearms.

Over the coming year, the Department will continue to lead Australia’s negotiations on bilateral international crime cooperation treaties and related instruments. It will also work collaboratively with other Australian Government agencies to represent Australia’s interests in multilateral forums aimed at combating transnational crime, including the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

Australia’s anti-corruption engagement will be enhanced by continuing active participation in the G20 and APEC anti-corruption working groups, and the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. As part of Australia’s obligations under the Convention, in 2011–12 the Department will work with experts from two other States Parties and officials from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to review Australia’s compliance with key articles of the Convention.

The Department will also continue work to ensure Australia’s legislative frameworks for international crime cooperation are robust, accountable and safeguard human rights.

In 2011–12, work will continue with countries in the Pacific, South and South-East Asia, and Africa to review and develop laws to combat transnational crime as well as police and criminal justice legislation, and to deliver training, prosecutor pairing programs and mentoring. Relationships with multilateral organisations, regional organisations and other donors will be further developed to maximise the effectiveness of Australia’s assistance to partner countries to strengthen their capacity to combat transnational crime and enhance security and stability.

 


Our people

Combating cyber crime at a national level

Work cooperatively to combat online crime

The National Cyber Crime Working Group—led by the Attorney-General’s Department—is focused on developing a cohesive approach to combating online crime in Australia. Cyber crime is a complex problem affecting public and private sector organisations across all jurisdictions.

Jo Winter, an acting Senior Legal Officer in the Criminal Law Reform Section, says that unlike many other forms of crime, cyber crime is not confined by traditional jurisdictional boundaries. ‘To address this nationally significant issue, we needed to bring together stakeholders from across Australia to develop a consistent and effective national response.’

The National Cyber Crime Working Group was established by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General to enable jurisdictions to work cooperatively to combat online crime. It comprises officers from federal, State and Territory law enforcement agencies and justice departments, the Australian Crime Commission, CrimTrac and the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency.

‘A real highlight has been working closely with our law enforcement counterparts to come up with practical solutions which will assist police at an operational level,’ Jo says.

The Working Group represents the most significant and concerted effort to date to strategically address cyber crime at a national level. It is considering a range of initiatives including a centralised national online reporting facility, as well as a protocol to enhance information sharing and clarify lines of responsibility for law enforcement agencies investigating cyber-related offences.

‘Currently the complexity of cyber crime makes it difficult to assess the size of the problem,’ Jo says. ‘The projects being advanced by the Working Group will help to develop a comprehensive picture of cyber threats and inform a holistic approach to preventing and prosecuting online crime.’


 

Performance results

Table 14: Performance results, Program 1.2

Key performance indicators Results
Increased flow of timely information to Government and business on cyber security threats Achieved
Comment: The Department, through the national computer emergency response team (CERT Australia), provides information to Australia’s private sector on cyber security threats and vulnerabilities, and strategies to mitigate these risks. CERT Australia also contributes to the work of the Cyber Security Operations Centre in the Department of Defence in its mission to provide Government with a comprehensive understanding of the cyber threat and the security status of government networks and Australia’s systems of national interest.
National leadership and coordination on identity security policy, including whole-of-government leadership for the National Identity Security Strategy Partially achieved
Comment: The Department is leading the Commonwealth, States and Territories to develop a new National Identity Security Strategy.

The Department is working to complete the initial suite of documents for verification in the National Document Verification Service.
Implementation of a framework for addressing serious and organised crime Substantially achieved

Comment: The Department implemented a number of key actions under the Organised Crime Strategic Framework during the year, including the Commonwealth Organised Crime Response Plan. It also worked with partners in the banking and finance industry to combat fraud. Implementation of the Framework is ongoing.
A coordinated legal, policy and operational framework to provide a resilience-based Prevention Preparedness Response Recovery approach to disasters, including support to crisis coordination and decision making Substantially achieved
Comment: The Australian Government Crisis Coordination Centre was established in an interim capacity in September 2010. 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. The enhanced Centre is scheduled for activation in September 2011.
Provision and support of a relevant and consistent protective security environment across Government Achieved
Comment: The physical and information security policy reviews were completed in June 2010. This represents a key outcome of the broader Protective Security Policy review.
Degree of engagement by Federal, State and Territory Government agencies in building national security capability and capacity Achieved
Comment: Federal, State and Territory Government agencies are fully engaged in building national security capability and capacity. The Department contributed substantially to this engagement through its support of National Counter-Terrorism Committee and National Emergency Management
Committee activities.
A legal and policy framework that builds community confidence and facilitates effective action to prevent and respond to national security challenges Achieved
Comment: The effectiveness of the legal framework is kept under ongoing review, and amendments are progressed to respond to practical issues identified through the operation of the legislation. The Department has introduced legislation that provides for appropriate oversight and accountability mechanisms while ensuring that agencies have access to important investigative tools that enable them to respond to the national security challenge. The focus of the Department’s community engagement strategy is to enable community representatives to identify how they can work with Government to build stronger and more resilient communities that are able to resist violent extremist influences. The Department also developed amendments to various Commonwealth laws to support the move to an ‘all-in’ policing and security model at airports, whereby the Australian Federal Police will be responsible for policing at Australia’s designated airports. 
Enhanced community and stakeholder confidence in, and understanding of, the national security legal and policy framework Achieved
Comment: Changes to national security laws have been subject to public consultation, and have been developed to ensure laws are balanced and proportionate having regard to individual freedoms and civil liberties. The Department has also consulted stakeholders regarding the operation of surveillance legislation and the development of related policy. Community engagement forums enabled the Department to consult with communities and stakeholders about current countering violent extremism projects, including market research, two new grants programs and a website. The 2010 AusCheck Satisfaction Survey indicates AusCheck continues to provide a high level of service to its clients. In addition, the survey indicates a 16 per cent increase in satisfaction levels for the quality of communications when compared to the 2009 survey results.
Effective legislative and policy frameworks, and conduct of casework, that brings people to justice while maintaining suitable safeguards and accountability mechanisms Achieved
Comment: The Department progressed a range of legislative reforms during the year, including on identity crime, police search powers and anti-corruption measures. The Department also provided advice to other departments and agencies on proposed criminal measures to ensure they accord with the principles generally applied in Commonwealth criminal law policy. The Department pursued important policy initiatives including on strengthening the pursuit of criminal assets, assisting victims of identity crime and combating cyber crime.

There have been successful counter-terrorism prosecutions, and the laws have been amended to ensure ongoing effectiveness while maintaining suitable safeguards and accountability mechanisms. There have also been occasions where the Courts have made findings against the Commonwealth on the basis of evidence and instructions to juries. This demonstrates there is a robust and fair system for dealing with these cases.
Australia’s international crime cooperation frameworks are maintained and strengthened Substantially achieved
Comment: The Department’s work on this issue continues. In January 2011, the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice released for public consultation further draft amendments to streamline and modernise Australia’s extradition and mutual assistance laws. The outcomes of the public consultation were reviewed and legislation was drafted for consideration by Parliament.
Identifiable progress on legislative and operational initiatives undertaken with other countries Substantially achieved
Comment: The Department continues to strengthen the capacity of countries in the Pacific, South and South-East Asia, and Africa to address transnational crime and related criminal justice issues, through active engagement and supporting regional organisations such as the Pacific Islands Law Officers’ Network.
Provision and support of Australia’s disaster relief, recovery and mitigation policy and financial assistance arrangements Achieved
Comment: The Department provided support for 41 National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements eligible disasters and more than $2.6 billion was paid to the States and Territories. The Department activated three different disaster recovery payments worth a total of approximately $900 million. Of this, approximately $823 million was expended in Australian Disaster Recovery Payments, $73 million in Disaster Income Recovery Payments and $4 million in payments to New Zealand non-protected visa holders.

 


Our people

Testing Australia’s cyber security arrangements

raising the awareness of cyber security

The Cyber Storm III exercise—coordinated in Australia by CERT Australia—was designed to evaluate our crisis management arrangements during a nationally significant cyber security event and to test the internal incident response and communication processes of participants.

Cyber Storm III was sponsored by the United States Department of Homeland Security and was the third in a series of similar exercises. Along with the US, Australia had the broadest involvement. Around 50 participants took part including federal, State and Territory government agencies, and over 30 organisations from the banking and finance, energy, food, transport, water, information and communications technology, and communications sectors.

‘It was challenging to design an exercise that met the needs and objectives of such a large and diverse group of participants,’ says Quentin Pinner, the CERT Australia exercise coordinator.

Initiatives like Cyber Storm III assist in raising the awareness of cyber security issues amongst government and industry. The exercise also played an important part in building new and strengthening existing relationships with stakeholders for CERT Australia.

‘Cyber security is a shared responsibility across government and the private sector. Strong relationships between CERT Australia and industry will contribute to greater cyber security nationally,’ says Quentin.

Cyber Storm III was a big success and many participants expressed interest in participating in future similar exercises.