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 Government

Australia's countering violent extremism program is supported by partnerships across all levels of government, right across the country. The Australian Government Attorney-General's Department is responsible for coordinating and managing countering violent extremism policy at the national level.

Many other government agencies also play an important role in taking action against violent extremism, directly through countering violent extremism programs targeted at those most at risk of radicalisation, and indirectly through broad integration and social cohesion activities implemented by social policy agencies.

Social policy agencies

There is no single pathway to violent extremism but there are a number of key factors that may contribute to the vulnerability of an individual to radicalisation, such as feelings of isolation, marginalisation and perceived lack of opportunities. Terrorists and violent extremists often exploit adverse political, social and economic conditions to recruit and motivate others.

A number of social policies are already in place, across all levels of government, aimed at promoting social inclusion and preventing marginalisation. While these policies have broader objectives, they can also play an important secondary role in addressing grievances which may stem from barriers to social and economic participation. Relevant activities include:

  • education and training programs
  • individual support services
  • youth initiatives, including mentoring and job advice
  • family, peers and community support, and
  • community outreach.

Social policy agencies at the federal level that manage programs supporting social inclusion and indirectly contribute to Australia's countering violent extremism objectives include:

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies

Australian law enforcement and intelligence agencies provide a range of strategic, intelligence and policing functions to protect Australia, its people and interests from terrorism and other forms of violent extremism.

Law enforcement agencies provide:

  • community engagement teams that help to develop relationships between police and the community, and
  • advice and assessment to inform the development of countering violent extremism policies and focused programs.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is the Australian Government's primary law enforcement agency and plays a key role in national efforts to prevent and investigate terrorism in relation to Australian interests domestically and overseas. The AFP is actively involved in community engagement initiatives that have links directly to countering violent extremism, building social cohesion and increasing resilience within diverse communities. These activities help identify people who may be at risk of radicalisation and assist in diverting individuals from this pathway. The AFP contributes to whole-of-government initiatives aimed at empowering communities to challenge extremist messages and support the non-violent expression of views.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) is Australia's security service, whose primary function is to collect, analyse and disseminate security intelligence. Countering terrorism is a key focus for ASIO, as are countering espionage and other detrimental activities by foreign powers, and countering communal violence in Australia. ASIO conducts a variety of activities to help identify individuals and groups intent on acting on extremist beliefs. These activities include constructive long-term engagement with influential community and religious figures and associations and investigations relating to specific extremists or extremist threats.

States and territories

Agencies across all levels of government have a shared interest in countering violent extremism and protecting the community. Australian jurisdictions work together to ensure an efficient and effective national approach that minimises duplication and appropriately focuses resources on areas of greatest need.

State and territory government agencies maintain their own policies and programs that contribute to countering violent extremism. These agencies include police, departments of justice, multicultural bodies and social policy agencies, many of which have developed specific strategies for countering violent extremism. State and territory police, for example, have been active in developing cooperative relationships with communities and using their local expertise to address local issues.

In addition, states and territories are involved in coordinated and collaborative work through the Countering Violent Extremism Sub-Committee of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee.