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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2006  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/01/2006   
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Contents >> Chapter 3 - International relations >> Australia's security interests

AUSTRALIA'S SECURITY INTERESTS

Countering terrorism is a key priority for Australia, requiring a well-coordinated international response. In 2004 the Australian Government published a White Paper Transnational Terrorism: The Threat to Australia, describing the nature of the terrorist threat to Australia and Australia’s international response. Australia has concluded eleven bilateral arrangements promoting closer cooperation on counter-terrorism in the Asia-Pacific region, and has undertaken a number of practical counter-terrorism exercises with regional partners. In 2005, Australia announced a new package of counter-terrorism assistance for regional countries worth $40.3 million (m) over four years. This will enable Australia to continue to provide practical assistance to strengthen the region’s counter-terrorism capacity in key sectors such as law enforcement, border control, intelligence, defence and transport security. In 2004 Australia established with Indonesia the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation to boost the capacity of law enforcement agencies to fight terrorism and other transnational crime. Australia works with the UN and in other fora in support of international counter-terrorism efforts.

Australia attaches high priority to supporting multilateral arms control and non-proliferation regimes. This includes efforts to strengthen compliance and verification mechanisms of international treaties, particularly the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Through active participation in the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Australian Government seeks to hold to account Iran and the DPRK over their nuclear activities. Australia is the permanent chair of the Australia Group, which is dedicated to preventing the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons. The Group - comprising 39 countries plus the European Commission - marked its 20th anniversary in 2005. The Proliferation Security Initiative - a global initiative established in 2003 to develop practical measures to disrupt illicit trade in weapons of mass destruction - is a core element of Australia’s counter-proliferation strategy. Australia undertakes an active counter-proliferation outreach program, providing practical, technical assistance to key regional countries on export control measures to assist them to meet relevant international obligations.

Australia’s alliance relationship with the USA is crucial to Australia’s security and to strategic stability in the Asia-Pacific region. A Trilateral Security Dialogue involving Australia, Japan and the USA addresses shared interests in international security and cooperation. Australia is developing and deepening bilateral defence and security relationships with countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and with regional security organisations such as the ASEAN Regional Forum and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Australia works bilaterally and in regional forums to combat transnational crime. For example, Australia co-chairs, with Indonesia, the Bali process on people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational crime.

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