The growing threat from terrorism, home-grown extremism and war in the Middle East has prompted to the federal government to outlay $1.
2 billion in new funding for national security.
The new money comes on top of $1 billion outlined in the mid-year fiscal review, and is part of a total of $35 billion in the 2015-16 budget for defence, national security and law enforcement.
The $1.2 billion is over four years and includes $750 million in 2015-16 for Australian Defence Force operations in the Middle East.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott in February warned the direct threat to Australia from terrorism was “rising” and “worsening”.
The budget, as expected, includes $450 million for the Australian Federal Police and spy agencies to strengthen intelligence gathering and combat extremism, building on $630 million announced in 2014 and already included in the budget.
The new measures include $296 million to help the AFP update its IT systems, while $22 million will go towards combating terrorist propaganda and programs for countering violent extremism.
Treasurer Joe Hockey said the government could not afford to take shortcuts when it comes to the safety of the nation.
“As we know from events as recent as last weekend, the more work we do, the more likely we can prevent tragic incidents from happening in our community,” he told parliament on Tuesday night.
“The threat of terrorism is rising and ever evolving and our response must be swift and uncompromising. We must have the best counter-terrorism capabilities possible.”
There is also $131 million to help the telecommunications industry to upgrade their systems to meet demands of the government’s data retention regime.
The new metadata laws require telcos and internet service providers to store details about phone calls, text messages and internet use.
The increased funding to counter terrorism comes following a spate of raids in Australia during the past 12 months and more than 100 Australians travelling to Syria illegally to join extremist groups such as Islamic State.
Between September 2014 and April 2015, there have been 22 people arrested in Australia in counter-terrorism raids, making up almost one third of counter-terrorism arrests since 2001.
WHAT’S IN THE BUDGET FOR NATIONAL SECURITY:
* Total of $1.2 billion in new funding for national security
* $450 million to strengthen intelligence capabilities and counter extremist messaging
* $131 million to assist telecommunications industry in collection of metadata.