Michelle Roberts

Michelle Roberts

Minister for Housing and Works; Indigenous Affairs; Heritage; Land Information

    Tough counter-terrorism laws take effect tomorrow

    15/01/2006 1:00 AM

    A key plank of the Gallop Government’s new counter-terrorism laws comes into operation tomorrow, providing Western Australian police with the toughest powers in the nation to combat terrorism activities.

    Police Minister Michelle Roberts said the new laws would give police special powers to stop, search and take control of terrorist situations.

    Mrs Roberts said the laws would allow the police to act decisively in a time of crisis and imminent danger.

    “These new powers, together with new technology, more police officers and additional resources, will be essential weapons in the fight against terrorism,” she said.

    The Minister said the new laws provided police with special powers to:
    • locate and search people, vehicles or a target location for up to seven days;
    • cordon-off areas and seize items that might be connected to a terrorist act; and
    • direct a Government agency to exercise certain powers or functions of the agency.
    “Strict protocols and safeguards have been attached to these laws to ensure police can act swiftly when we need them most, but they cannot proceed without proper authority and scrutiny,” Mrs Roberts said.

    “These powers can only be used after a special commissioner’s warrant has been issued with the concurrence of a Supreme Court judge.

    “At the end of the warrant period, the commissioner must provide a report to the Police Minister and the Attorney General about the terms of the warrant and how the special powers were exercised.

    “This report will be tabled in State Parliament.”

    The Minister said the new laws would be reviewed after their first year in operation, and every three years thereafter.

    She said the Gallop Government had allocated more than $60million towards counter-terrorism measures, including the provision of specialist counter terrorism equipment.

    Today, Mrs Roberts revealed plans for a second state-of-the-art bomb disposal robot for the Tactical Response Group’s counter-terrorism team.

    The first robot, known as Bob, was purchased last year and has the mobility and versatility to respond to chemical, biological and radiological situations. It has a wide array of ballistic capabilities and can deploy a number of weapons at once.

    It is operated remotely by radio or fibre optics cable and its vision system consists of several colour cameras with low-light capabilities.

    “The second robot will be an important addition for the TRG’s bomb response unit and reduce the risks to bomb technicians and emergency service personnel,” Mrs Roberts said.

    The funding for the robots is made available through the Federal Government’s National Counter Terrorism Committee, while the State Government funds their ongoing operation and maintenance.

    Minister's office: 9213 6600