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Published date: Thursday 7 June 2018

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Targeted powers to help police combat terrorism will remain in place with new safeguards to ensure the extraordinary measures continue to be used appropriately, Attorney General Mark Speakman announced today. 

“Police must have the legal authority to act swiftly and effectively to protect the community when a terrorism threat emerges or an attack occurs,” Mr Speakman said. 

“A Department of Justice review found while the Terrorism (Police Powers) Act 2002 had been used sparingly, it is as vital today as it was when it was introduced in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.” 

The Act sets out when police can hold a terror suspect in detention or carry out covert searches. Last year, the laws were amended in response to the State Coroner’s recommendation at the Lindt Café Siege inquest to give police certainty about using force, including lethal force, when responding to a terrorist attack. 

The NSW Government will adopt the review’s recommendations for amendments to the Act. The recommendations seek to ensure that the Act provides police with the necessary powers to address the risk of terrorism while balancing those powers with appropriate protections for detainees. The recommendations recognise that robust counter-terrorism laws require effective oversight. 

A bill implementing the review’s recommendations will be introduced to the NSW Parliament later this year. 

“The changes strike the right balance between keeping the community safe and providing safeguards to prevent the powers unnecessarily encroaching on liberties,” Mr Speakman said. 

Under NSW law, the Terrorism (Police Powers) Act 2002 is required to be reviewed every three years to ensure it remains fit for purpose. The latest review by the department was informed by a range of stakeholders, including the NSW Police Force and Ombudsman. 

Australia’s National Terrorism Threat Level is currently set at ‘probable’. The review is available at: http://www.justice.nsw.gov.au/justicepolicy/Documents/statutory-review-of-the-tppa.pdf