Calls for body to monitor terror-linked purchases



State and federal leaders are being urged to establish a national body to monitor all purchases of weapons, chemical precursors and ammunition that could be used in a terrorist attack.

There is currently no national database that allows federal and state police agencies to check the identity of people making such purchases.

It has been five years since state and federal leaders discussed chemical, nuclear and biological security at Council of Australian Government (COAG) meetings.

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Security and terrorism consultant Roger Henning said the discovery of chemicals at the Melbourne home of alleged Islamic State (ISIL) suicide bomber Jake Billiardi should be a wake-up call to the authorities.

“Their major concern is that a search of his residence revealed that he had accumulated chemicals which are generally referred to as CBRNE (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear and Explosives),” he said.

“The explosives include guns and ammunition and there isn’t anything to stop anyone in Australia acquiring some of these ingredients.”

Mr Henning said there is an urgent need for a centralised co-ordinating body, even though there has not been any casualty attacks in Australia.

Jake Bilardi was allegedly killed in a suicide bomb attack in Iraq

Melbourne teen Jake Bilardi (centre) in an Islamic State photo. Photo: Twitter

“The system isn’t working because the Federal Government and state governments and territory governments all know that there is no real monitoring of particularly chemicals which come under this heading,” he said.

“You can still buy chemicals that are used on properties. COAG, which consists of the Federal Government and all of these other governments, has put together regulations that they all agree to, to better monitor and control the supply chain.

“But that hasn’t happened – there isn’t any system in place to have a central system where they can record who buys these supplies, their address, their driver’s license – it just doesn’t happen.”

Mr Henning said under the current system a potential terrorist could go from state to state to buy ingredients for bombs and weapons without ringing any alarm bells.

“We’ve actually sent an advisory piece to all state and territory leaders and had a response actually from all of them,” he said.

“All of them said pretty much the same thing – that yes, COAG meet regularly and we discuss counter-terrorism needs and make decisions, that’s true.

“No point talking and making decisions unless you act upon them and that’s not happening.”

Mr Henning said the leaders need to prioritise the creation of a central national coordinating body to record the details of individuals buying weapons and chemicals

“It isn’t difficult, it isn’t rocket science, it’s something that can be computerised very quickly and it’s not a big burden on the budget,” he said.

“There are hundreds of millions of counterterrorism dollars but none have been directed to achieve this need.”

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