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NSW agency capabilities

The NSW Government has significantly increased its counter terrorism capability across all relevant NSW Government agencies and maintains capabilities to prepare, prevent, respond and recover from acts of terrorism. The development, maintenance, planning and training of NSW capability is shared across government and is informed by the current and emerging security environment.

The security environment has highlighted the need for a planned and specialised multiagency approach. Government agencies regularly participate in exercises conducted under the auspices of Australia-New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee and the NSW Counter Terrorism Exercise Steering Committee. These are generally multiagency exercises aimed at preparing all agencies to respond to a range of terrorist threats that may occur in NSW.

See below for agency capabilities:

  • NSW Police Force
  • Fire & Rescue NSW
  • NSW Ambulance
  • Rural Fire Service
  • NSW Health
  • Transport for NSW
  • WorkCover NSW
  • Environment Protection Authority
  • Multicultural NSW
  • Department of Justice

NSW Police Force

The NSW Police Force is the combat agency for terrorism. The Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command has been established to specifically focus on preventing, preparing for, and responding to terrorism in NSW. Working with our state and federal partners to ensure the safety and security of the people of NSW, the Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command provides, through its four dedicated Groups of more than 600 staff: daily tactical operational support; investigation; management and support for matters relating to counter terrorism; state security and national and international visitor dignitary protection; witness protection; community engagement and public education.

For more information visit the NSW Police Force website


Fire & Rescue NSW

Fire & Rescue NSW are one of the largest urban fire and rescue services in the world. They are responsible for managing fire emergencies in NSW's major cities and towns, responding to rescues, building collapses, hazardous materials incidents and working with police around terrorism activities across the State.

Fire & Rescue NSW have undertaken extensive planning for emergency management which includes preparing, preventing and/or responding to acts of terrorism with other agencies should they arise. They have a liaison officer embedded in the NSW Police Force's Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command to act as a liaison between the two agencies. They also work closely with other government agencies in implementing prevention measures and minimising the impact of emergencies through the delivering education programs to the community.

For more information visit the Fire & Rescue NSW website.


NSW Ambulance

NSW Ambulance is one of the largest ambulance services in the world and is well equipped to respond to major incidents including terrorist attacks. Approximately 90% of the workforce is comprised of operational staffs including paramedics, intensive care paramedics, extended care paramedics, special operations paramedics and aeromedical teams who provide essential triage and transport of patients to hospitals.

The Special Operations Unit within NSW Ambulance is responsible for maintaining operations and disaster planning in line with NSW and national emergency management plans including terrorism planning. The Unit has a liaison officer embedded in the NSW Police Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command to act as a liaison between the two agencie. The Special Operations Unit also coordinates training and deployment of NSW Ambulance Special Operations paramedics in response to major incidents and acts of terrorism. These paramedics are trained in a variety of access techniques for difficult or hazardous access situations.

NSW Ambulance also provides the following specialised resources in the event of a terrorist incident: medical support to specialist police units, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear response capability for patient access utilising personal protective equipment, Urban Search and Rescue response to major structural collapse along with doctors from NSW Health, logistics and specialised vehicle support to major incidents.

For more information visit the NSW Ambulance website.


NSW Rural Fire Service

The NSW Rural Fire Service is the lead combat agency for bush fires in NSW and is widely acknowledged as the largest volunteer fire service in the world. Members of the NSW Rural Fire Service are trained to very high levels of competence to ensure they know what to do in an emergency and are well equipped to assist other agencies in support of a major incident including a terrorist attack, emergency operations, natural disasters or events that affect NSW requiring a multiagency response. To support such events, they have established an Integrated Command and Control Model within the organisation.

The Rural Fire Service provides an important and unique support capability to the NSW Police Force as the identified combat agency. These counter terrorism capabilities include fire protection, category 1 urban search and rescue response, base camp infrastructure and management and catering.

They have identified Commanders for the NSW Rural Fire Service Counter Terrorism Command Cadre who participate in current and ongoing training initiatives, programs so they are appropriately trained, prepared, resourced, rehearsed and capable of effectively managing the NSW Rural Fire Service response to terrorist related threat or event occurring within New South Wales.

For more information visit the Rural Fire NSW website.


NSW Health

NSW Health takes an all hazards approach to planning for and responding to natural disasters, accidents and terrorist incidents, and provides field teams, hospital treatment and ongoing care for victims. The health system has well established and practiced plans in place to respond to disasters and the threat of terrorist attack, including chemical, biological and radiological weapons. It holds a range of equipment including personal protective equipment for first responders and receivers at healthcare facilities, a bio-surveillance system, a range of countermeasures to treat affected persons, and secure laboratory services.

The NSW Health Emergency Management Unit is the first point of contact in Emergency Planning and response to drive disaster preparedness planning, policy and training for NSW Health. The Unit works closely with the Office of the Chief Health Officer, the Ambulance Special Operations Unit and identified disaster position holders across the NSW Health Local Health Districts.

The Office of the Chief Health Officer works also closely with the Health Emergency Management unit to prepare for large-scale infectious disease emergencies, such as influenza pandemics, and the public health aspects of other types of disasters. For more information, please refer to the NSW Health website.


Transport for NSW

Transport for NSW is responsible for coordinating security arrangements across rail, bus, ferry, light rail, roads and taxi as well as for major transport hubs and interchanges. Transport for NSW works closely with the NSW Police Force in coordinating security measures for Sydney Trains and NSW Trains, State Transit and private bus operators, Harbour City Ferries and other ferry providers.

The NSW Government has made significant commitments to reviewing and improving transport security and has a network of more than 10,000 CCTV cameras on the rail network alone. CCTV cameras monitor the entries and exits of railway stations, ticket vending machines, help points, railway platforms, stabling yards, some car parks, bus interchanges and other key areas on the railway network. CCTV footage is able to be shared with the NSW Police Force. Sydney Buses has CCTV on every bus in the fleet (more than 2000 buses), which can be accessed and shared with the NSW Police Force. Security initiatives on transport services in NSW include:

  • regular patrols of the transport network by the Police Transport Command
  • more than 10,000 CCTV cameras on the rail network, which are able to be monitored 24 hours a day
  • over 7,000 high intensity lights and 780 customer help points across the rail network
  • onboard CCTV and Help Points being rolled out on new trains
  • Transport for NSW continues to work closely with the Police Transport Command on managing security across the transport network.

Transport for NSW is responsible for coordinating surface transport security across the state which includes buses, rail, ferry, light rail and taxi operations. They undertake extensive risk assessments across all modes of transport and implement physical security measures and processes arrangements across identified infrastructure and transport activities.

For more information visit:

Environment Protection Authority

Under the NSW emergency management framework, the Environment Protection Authority is the Environmental Services Functional Area Coordinator, a role which includes the coordination of scientific support under the CBRN/Hazmatplan. In concert with the combat agencies and responsible parties, the Environment Protection Authority coordinates the clean-up and safe disposal of hazardous materials. As the regulator of hazardous chemicals, pesticides, radioactive materials and the transport of dangerous goods, the Environment Protection Authority has extensive networks with industry in the control and use of these hazardous materials.

For more information visit the NSW EPA website.


WorkCover NSW

WorkCover NSW maintains standards for the security and storage dangerous substances including special licensing for explosives and chemicals such as Sensitive Security Ammonium Nitrate.

For more information visit the WorkCover NSW website.

Multicultural NSW

Multicultural NSW's purpose is to build and maintain a cohesive and harmonious multicultural society that enriches the lives of all the people in NSW.

Multicultural NSW proactively advises Government on the state of community relations within multicultural NSW through positive engagements with diverse communities, public sector agencies, non-government service providers, and the private sector. Multicultural NSW is the central point for raising and resolving issues that affect community harmony and social cohesion within NSW.

For more information visit the Multicultural NSW website.

Department of Justice

The Department of Justice has a whole of government coordination of counter terrorism responsibility as well as being the lead agency for recovery operations and state wide Disaster Welfare Services. For further information visit the NSW Department of Justice and Emergency NSW websites.