Victoria acts in wake of Brussels attacks

Security has been stepped up at key sites in Victoria as other states adopt a wait-and-see approach in the wake of deadly terror attacks in Belgium.


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has sought to allay fears of a similar attack here, and says there’s no reason to lift Australia’s terror threat level from probable to expected or certain.

But Victoria isn’t taking any chances and the state ramped up counter-terrorism and other activities overnight. Security has also been increased at key sites.

Premier Daniel Andrews urged Victorians to go about their business but remain vigilant.

“There are a number of long-standing protocols. They were put in place last night,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Victoria’s chief commissioner Graham Ashton said there was no suggestion that terror-related activity was imminent.

NSW Premier Mike Baird also urged people to be vigilant, but said there would be no change to police security around Sydney train stations.

“There is no specific link, or indeed threat, on the back of it here in Sydney or across the state,” Mr Baird told reporters.

The premier has held talks with NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, and the police chief says authorities are ready to escalate security arrangements if that’s deemed necessary.

“Suffice to say, the greatest enemy that we face at this time is people becoming complacent. Work with us. If you see something that’s happening, tell us,” Mr Scipione said.

Queensland police say they’re working with interstate and international counterparts.

“Queenslanders are urged to be vigilant as they go about their daily lives as usual,” a police spokesman said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said thoughts and prayers are with Belgium’s victims, but she’s yet to comment on the security landscape.

Border protection officers who’d planned Easter weekend strikes at airports around Australia have called off the action, after an appeal by the prime minister.

“Our members would never take industrial action that compromises Australia’s national security at this time or any time,” Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood told reporters.

Mr Turnbull has tried to reassure Australians, saying the country has stronger border security than many in Europe, with no internal borders or porous external borders.

“We have the benefits of geography,” he said.

Belgium’s ambassador in Canberra, Jean-Luc Bodson, said his country could learn from Australia’s migration vetting processes, and he’s reporting back on what’s been done here.