On 12 September 2014 the Prime Minister announced an increase in Australia's National Terrorism Public Alert level from medium to high. This is the second highest level on Australia’s four-tier alert system and meansthat the risk of an attack is likely.
The Australian Government raised the terrorism alert level on advice from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). It was not based on knowledge of a specific attack plan, but rather on evidence that points to increased terrorist activity in Australia.
Federal, state and territory governments have advised organisations and individuals to continue to go about their normal business, but to be aware of community safety and report any suspicious or unusual activity. In light of the increased threat, Church organisations should also make the time to identify the risks associated with terrorism and develop a plan to manage these risks and reduce the likelihood or severity of consequences.
It is important to bear in mind that an organisation can be affected by an act of terrorism even if it is not the target. For example, a significant incident in the local community could result in evacuations, road closures, disruptions to essential services and lockdowns. Even an act of terrorism that occurs many hundreds of kilometres away could have an impact, driving changes to emergency response plans at national or diocesan level or causing emotional distress and trauma.
Church organisations should:
Work with their state/territory police force to identify the risks associated with terrorism in everyday operations and for special events.
Assess the effectiveness of any existing controls to manage the risk, or reduce the severity of consequences.
Develop a risk treatment plan and implement anynew controls necessary to manage the risk.
Review business continuity and emergency response plans.
The majority of Australian insurers, including CCI, do not cover terrorism. This is because the Australian Government’s terrorism insurance scheme, which commenced in July 2003 in the wake of the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States of America, provides terrorism insurance coverage for commercial property and associated business interruption losses along with public liability claims.
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)
Your State/Territory Police Force
CCI has a number of useful Resources on this and many other topics available on this website or by calling the risksupport Helpdesk on 1300 660 827.
Managing Risk In Catholic Organisations Guide – Conducting a Risk Assessment, Developing a Risk Treatment Plan