Spy boss warns Australia could face a deadly terror attack in the next YEAR
- Australia’s top spy chief warns there will be a terror attack within next 12 months
- ASIO’s Director-General Mike Burgess spoke at an inquiry in Canberra
- He said there’s growing risk posed by neo-Nazi and right-wing extremist groups
A terror attack will ‘likely’ hit Australian shores within the next year, the nation’s top spy boss has said in a startling warning.
ASIO’s Director-General of Security Mike Burgess told an inquiry in Canberra on Thursday although Islamic extremists still pose a significant risk to Australia, there is also a rising threat from white nationalist groups.
In the past three years investigations into underground neo-Nazi cells other right-wing extremists has surged from 16 per cent of the agencies caseloads to 40 per cent.
A terror attack is likely hit Australian shores within the next year, ASIO’s Director-General of Security Mike Burgess (pictured at the inquiry) warned
Pictured: Alleged members of a far-right extremist group seen at Halls Gap and the Grampians
‘We have credible intelligence that individuals and small groups have the capability and intent, and we, on that basis, assess that there is likely to be a terrorist attack sometime in the next 12 months,’ Mr Burgess told the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.
Australia’s terror threat level remains at ‘probable’, but the intelligence chief did not specify which group the attack is likely to come from.
‘Given the growth that we’ve seen in nationalist and violent extremism, we anticipate there will be a terrorist attack in this country in the next 12 months and it can come from either ideology,’ he reiterated.
‘For me, it doesn’t really matter because they are both capable of actually conducting acts of violence and that’s where we focus.’
He acknowledged Sunni-based violence remains the greatest threat in capital cites, as battle-hardened foreign fighters who travelled to Syria under the ISIS umbrella look to return home to Australia.
Counter-terrorism legislation along with policy settings, and other response options are all under review by the committee.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugs a mosque-goer at the Kilbirnie Mosque on March 17, 2019 in Wellington after 50 people were killed by an Australian white nationalist
Three people were killed in 2017 after a man went on a rampage in a car through busy Bourke St Mall in Melbourne
As well as fighting extremism with typical surveillance and law-enforcement tactics, the hearing is also trying to examine other ways to combat the threat.
‘We need to know why people are driven to these views,’ Mr Burgess
Terrorist propaganda continues to resonate with extremists in Australia, and such messaging is drawing a younger audience.
Australians as young as 13 and 14 are involved in Islamic extremist and extreme right-wing circles, according to the national surveillance organisation’s written submission.
‘It is the white supremacy racist narrative that does resonate with some Australians, not all, but there are a number that it does and that is of concern,’ Mr Burgess said.