The safety and security of Australians is the Morrison Government’s number one priority.
The challenges and threats facing our nation become more and more complicated every day.
The 2019-20 Budget invests in building safer communities within secure borders while providing the resources to combat crime gangs, child exploitation, terrorism and foreign interference.
Only through our plan for a stronger economy can we ensure a safer and more secure Australia.
The dangers to Australia from terrorism continue to evolve. The tragic events in Christchurch last month show the need to remain vigilant to the threat of violent extremism.
In the last five years, there have been seven terror attacks in Australia and 15 major operations to disrupt planned attacks. Ninety-three people have been charged with terror-related offences.
In the coming years, as a nation, we face the dual risks of returning foreign fighters and the possible release from prison of those already convicted of planning or preparing terrorist acts in Australia.
To meet the ever present danger of terrorist attacks, spending to strengthen and enhance our intelligence and law enforcement agencies capacities will increase yearly over the next four years and total $381 million in that period.
This will enable the formation of additional investigation teams and adoption of new methods to meet the evolving terrorist threat, using the full suite of powers our Government has given our security agencies.
OPERATION SOVEREIGN BORDERS
The Coalition stopped the boats after the disastrous Labor years where open borders prevailed and allowed 50,000 illegal arrivals on more than 800 boats between 2008 and 2013, with at least 1200 avoidable deaths at sea.
With the boats stopped we were able to remove all children from detention and then close or put into contingency 19 detention centres.
However, particularly as a result of Labor’s Medevac legislation, the threat posed by people smugglers has not gone away, and as a nation we must remain vigilant. Operation Sovereign Borders continues its vital mission.
Australia will also continue the Regional Cooperation Arrangement in Indonesia, providing $39.5 million in assistance for our regional partners to deal with irregular people movements.
TACKLING THE SCOURGE OF GANGS AND DRUGS
Outlaw motorcycle gangs and organised criminal networks are behind the bulk of importation and trafficking of illegal drugs like ice, which wreak havoc across Australian communities.
As part of the Whole of Government Drug Strategy, the 2019-20 Budget provides Home Affairs agencies $152 million over four years to disrupt and reduce the supply of illicit drugs such as ice.
This allocation will revitalise the National Anti-Gangs Squad (NAGS), enhance Australian Border Force screening capabilities, support the new South Australian Joint Agency Ice Strike Team and extend the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program.
Funding of the NAGS will also enable joint-targeting of non-traditional and emerging criminal gangs, such as those responsible for crimes in South Eastern and Western Melbourne.
COUNTERING FOREIGN INTERFERENCE
We live in a time of unprecedented foreign intelligence activity against Australia. Covert foreign operations can have serious implications for Australia’s sovereignty by interfering with governmental and political processes.
Last year, the Government introduced ground-breaking legislation to deal with foreign influence and interference, and this Budget provides our security agencies the resources to investigate and disrupt foreign threats to our national sovereignty.
To meet this growing threat, $34.8 million has been allocated over the forward estimates to intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
Part of the funds will go to establish a Foreign Interference Threat Assessment Centre operated by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Federal Police.
CHILD SEX OFFENDER REGISTER
Protection of our most vulnerable – our children – remains one of the highest priorities of the Morrison Government.
Last year’s Budget provided funding to initiate the Australian Centre to Combat Child Exploitation (ACCCE) in Brisbane.
This Budget provides $7.8 million over four years for the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to develop and implement a National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders, which will provide information on convicted offenders residing in the community.
The Safer Communities Fund helps keep Australians safe through local crime prevention projects.
Following the terrorist atrocity in Christchurch the Prime Minister boosted to $55 million the funding available in the current Round Four grants.
This Budget will extend the Safer Communities Fund out to 2022-23 with $35.1 million dollars for a further round of grants (Round Five). This will boost efforts of councils and community organisations to address crime and anti-social behaviour, including through the installation of additional Closed Circuit television (CCTV) cameras and street lighting.
Schools and organisations with concerns associated with racial or religious intolerance can seek funding to improve their security.
More than $100 million has supported 340 safer community projects such as installation of CCTV, bollards and enhanced lighting of community spaces since the inception of the Safer Communities Fund in 2016.
Australia’s susceptibility to catastrophic natural disasters was frighteningly evident over recent months with massive flooding in the north and raging bushfires across most states.
To deliver initiatives to reduce disaster risk and improve risk information, the Government will provide $132.2 million over the next five years commencing in this Budget.
The Morrison Government will also establish an Emergency Response Fund from 1 October 2019, to fund natural disaster recovery and response initiatives above and beyond existing state and federal programs.
The Fund will be established as a Commonwealth Investment Fund under the management of the Future Fund Board of Guardians with an initial capital of approximately
Up to $150 million per annum will be available from 2019-20 to 2023-24 from the Fund if the Government determines there is a need for additional support in parallel with existing natural disaster response programs, following a significant and catastrophic natural disaster.
The Fund will continue beyond 2023-24, with funding available annually for natural disaster recovery and response to reflect the five‑year average realised earnings of the Fund.