Australia to establish national terrorist register for those at risk of reoffending after jail time

Australia will establish a national register for convicted terrorists as part of the federal government’s national security funding in the upcoming budget.

A nearly $87 million package to be announced on Thursday will go towards the register, and further support for anti-terror agencies to tackle high-risk offenders.

The register will target terrorists currently serving prison time who are considered a high-risk of reoffending once released.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews says the pandemic has sparked new conspiracy theories which may falsely justify violent acts.

Since 2014, 144 people have been charged in 71 counter-terrorism operations around Australia, she says.

“In 2022, as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and once more gather in crowds, we cannot be complacent about the terrorist threat,” she said.

“With 18 convicted terrorists due for release into the community within the next four years, we need to do everything we can to ensure our agencies have the tools and resources they need to protect our communities from harm.”

Australia currently does not monitor terrorism offenders in the long term after they are released from prison.

The new register will be designed with the states and territories and will involve long-term reporting obligations for offenders at the end of their sentences.

The funding package is the latest in a series of budget pledges on defence.

Some $10 billion will be spent over two decades for a submarine base in either Queensland or NSW.

Construction on a dry dock facility in Henderson, Western Australia, will begin next year with a $4.3 billion investment.

A significant sum will also be included for the cost of supplying aid to Ukraine.

Australia this week announced $50 million would be dedicated to humanitarian and military aid for Ukraine. That’s in addition to $70 million in military assistance announced at the start of March.

“The people of Ukraine have been defiant and they’ve asked for more help,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.