Australia is tightening its security with a new, super-powered ministry


dpa

SYDNEY — Australia will create a new government super ministry to oversee all its domestic national security agencies and its immigration department, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced Tuesday.

The new Home Affairs ministry will manage all security agencies including the domestic spy agency, federal and border police, the criminal intelligence commission and the financial intelligence agency, plus the country’s immigration department.

Turnbull said that it was the most significant reform to domestic security and national intelligence architecture “in more than 40 years” in the country.

“We need these reforms, not because the system is broken, but because our security environment is evolving quickly … When it comes to our nation’s security, we must stay ahead of the threats against us,” Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

“We cannot take an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach to security arrangements. Not least because our adversaries are agile and nimble, constantly adapting and evolving to defeat our defenses,” he said.

Turnbull said the ministry will be similar to the British Home Office, bringing together border and security agencies.

The new portfolio will be headed by Peter Dutton, the current minister for immigration and border protection. In the role, he will be assisted by the country’s attorney general and the justice minister.

The ministry will also include a co-ordinating office of national intelligence and a new cyber security center.

Turnbull said he expects the overhaul by July 2018.

The move comes after the prime minister announced on Monday an increased role for the Australian military to respond to terrorism incidents inside the country, including special forces providing training to police.