Ports Security

About this Item
SubjectsTerrorism; Harbours and Ports; Security and Intelligence; Shipping
SpeakersSharpe The Hon Penny; Roozendaal The Hon Eric
BusinessQuestions Without Notice

Page: 20195

    The Hon. PENNY SHARPE: My question is addressed to the Minister for Ports and Waterways. Will he outline the latest initiatives to protect our ports from the threat of terrorism?

    The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: I thank the Hon. Penny Sharpe for her question on this very important issue. In these troubled times we have to be more vigilant than ever before in the war against terror. This Government has worked hard to put into place plans and procedures to counter the threat of terrorism in this State. The latest equipment in our frontline counter-terrorism hardware is the provision of anti-terrorist vehicle barriers at Sydney's Overseas Passenger Terminal, which can disable a speeding truck. This anti-terrorist barricade defence system is part of a $23.4 million security upgrade of New South Wales ports.

    Our ports are critical State infrastructure. Unfortunately, terrorism has made ports security a top priority. We have greatly boosted security at Circular Quay's Overseas Passenger Terminal. These defence devices can stop a truck travelling at 80 kilometres an hour. They activate out of the ground and form a physical barrier that can crush a speeding truck and immobilise it. The barriers can be triggered in less than two seconds. As Phil Black reported on Seven News on 19 November:

    At 80 kilometres an hour the impact is much more than a little bump. The barrier slices through the engine and the truck stops so suddenly that the momentum of the trailer crushes the cabin from behind.

    The anti-terrorist barricade defence system blocks vehicles from accessing the Overseas Passenger Terminal and around berthed vessels. At times of heightened security levels, these defence barriers will be permanently raised as a further security measure.

    The Government has a range of measures in place to protect cruise ships and their passengers when they visit our shores. This is the biggest cruise season that Sydney has ever seen. Approximately 90 cruise ships will come into port over the coming months. We have to ensure that security requirements are appropriate to protect the ships and their passengers. With more than 156,000 tourists coming through Sydney every year on cruise ships, the cruise industry injects more than $30 million into the New South Wales economy. It is critical that we protect this infrastructure at the national standard for counter-terrorism.

    The New South Wales Government has security plans in place for all visiting cruise liners. All our ports have their own security plans for individual terminals and facilities. The closed-circuit television cameras monitor key areas. In excess of 20 cameras are trained on the wharves at Sydney Harbour and Darling Harbour, including six thermal imaging cameras that can detect heat sources that are not visible to the naked eye. There are 30-metre exclusion zones around all visiting cruise liners. NSW Water Police and Sydney Ports Corporation vessels conduct random water patrols in Sydney Harbour and at Wharf 8 at Darling Harbour. In addition, we have improved security fencing, signage and barriers at all ports. We have physically strengthened the perimeters of the Overseas Passenger Terminal and the Darling Harbour Wharf 8 perimeters with new fencing, barriers and bollards as well as additional lighting.

    The Hon. Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans: Why do you not take a stand against the war in Iraq? Then we would not have all these problems.

    The Hon. ERIC ROOZENDAAL: I acknowledge the interjection by the Hon. Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans because his comment is so silly, so ridiculous and so stupid. The issue of terrorism goes well beyond the war in Iraq, as the Hon. Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans knows. Al-Qaeda declared Australia a target after East Timor and if the Hon. Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans did a little bit of research he would know that. He should not trivialise the issue of terrorism. It shows how out of touch the Democrats are. His trivialising the important issue of terrorism is an insult to victims of terrorism around the world.

    Our port security services are working with visiting ship security officers and rely on security intelligence that is gathered by Federal and State agencies. We live in troubled times, but the House will be reassured to know that our agencies are working hard to counter the ever-present threat of terrorism.