1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2007   
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Contents >> International Relations >> Australia's security interests


Countering the threat of transnational terrorism is a key priority for ensuring the security and safety of Australia and Australians.

Australia’s efforts are concentrated on building the resolve and capacity in the region to defeat terrorism. Australia has concluded twelve bilateral memorandums of understanding on counter-terrorism with Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Fiji, Cambodia, PNG, Indonesia, India, East Timor, Brunei, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In May 2006 the Government announced a Third Regional Counter-Terrorism Assistance Package totalling $92.6m over four years. This package is aimed at expanding regional cooperation to keep weapons of mass destruction (WMD) out of the hands of terrorists, build regional capability for responding to terrorist attacks and counteract terrorist propaganda. 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 crimes.

Australia also works with the UN and in other forums in support of international counter-terrorism efforts. In December 2005 the Australian Government launched an international campaign to strengthen international export and other control standards applying to Man-Portable Air Defence Systems as part of its efforts to counter the terrorist threat and enhance aviation security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Australia attaches high priority to countering the proliferation of WMD. In 2005 the government published a paper entitled Weapons of Mass Destruction: Australia's Role in Fighting Proliferation which highlights the extent and nature of the contemporary threat posed by WMD proliferation and Australia's multifaceted strategy to address that threat (see <http://www.dfat.gov.au/publications/wmd/>). This includes efforts to strengthen adherence to and compliance with the major non-proliferation treaties - the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Through active participation in the International Atomic Energy Agency and other forums, Australia contributes to international efforts to resolve concerns over the nuclear activities of Iran and the DPRK.

Australia is the permanent chair of the Australia Group, which is dedicated to preventing the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons. The Proliferation Security Initiative - a global initiative established in 2003 to develop practical measures to disrupt illicit trade in WMD - 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 to help them improve export control measures so they meet relevant international obligations and strengthen national structures.

Australia’s alliance relationship with the USA is crucial to Australia’s security and to strategic stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Reflecting shared security interests, the inaugural ministerial meeting of the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue between Australia, Japan and the USA was held in Sydney in March 2006. Australia is 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. The website at <http://www.baliprocess.net> provides more information.

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