Australian states and territories will have faster access to military personnel and resources to deal with domestic terror threats, under legislation to be introduced to federal parliament on Thursday.
Amendments to the Defence Act will enable the rapid deployment of special forces troops, military hardware and defence experts.
Previously, Australian Defence Force (ADF) assets were available only when authorities were overwhelmed.
Attorney-General Christian Porter said the new laws introduced a much more flexible threshold for states and territories to seek ADF support.
“It is designed to try and assess, at a reasonably early opportunity, whether or not there are any specific skills or assets that the ADF could bring to bear to a situation to help to protect Australian citizens from what is unfortunately an ever-present threat of domestic terrorism,” Porter said.
The call-out powers are designed to deal with three key scenarios: drawn-out sieges; terror events such as those in Paris and London involving “geographically widespread, co-ordinated attacks”; and threats involving biological, chemical or radiological weapons.