This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and New South Wales Police.
A 23-year-old Batemans Bay man has been charged with a terrorism offence following the execution of search warrants over the past five days on the NSW south coast.
The man was arrested on Sunday, March 15 (2020), outside the Nowra police station, after hunting knives and survivalist equipment were found in the car he was driving.
The man was detained under specified time provisions of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) as members of the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) conducted enquiries into his links to a 21-year-old Sanctuary Point man charged with a terrorism offence on Sunday, 15 March 2020.
The Batemans Bay man was charged yesterday evening (Friday, 20 March) with one count of acts done in preparation for, or planning, terrorist acts. This offence carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
He was also charged with two counts of possessing a prohibited firearm, contrary to Section 7(1) of the Prohibited Firearms Act 1996 (Cth).
Police will allege that the 23-year-old man was involved in early-stage planning and preparation for a terrorist act. It will further be alleged he was working with the Sanctuary Point man to acquire military equipment, including firearms and other items capable of making improvised explosive devices.
Items seized during a search of the man’s residence in the Batemans Bay suburb of Catalina include electronic items, hunting knives, survivalist equipment and a replica firearm.
An initial forensic examination of the electronic items uncovered a large quantity of extreme right-wing and anti-government material.
Further search warrants on premises in Sanctuary Point, Falls Creek and Tapitallee – all located near Nowra – between Thursday, 19 March and Saturday, 21 March resulted in the seizure of items that could be used in the construction of an improvised explosive device, electronic devices and other material that will be the subject of further examination.
These locations were of interest to JCTT investigators due to possible links to both men charged as part of this investigation.
The 23-year-old man is expected to face Nowra Local Court today (Saturday 21 March).
Investigations by the NSW JCTT remain ongoing.
The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team is comprised of the Australian Federal Police, NSW Police Force, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and NSW Crime Commission.
Anyone with information about extremist activity or possible threats to the community should come forward, no matter how small or insignificant you may think the information may be. The National Security Hotline is 1800 123 400.