The Director-General of ASIO, Mr Mike Burgess presented ASIO’s terrorism outlook for Australia before the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (March 2021)

“We have credible intelligence that individuals and small groups have the capable intent and we, on that basis, assess that there is likely to be a terrorist attack sometime in the next 12 months as we’ve seen in the last 12 months,” as reported by the ABC.

This is a stark warning. Organisations need to re-assess their security resilience and preparedness for the post-COVID terrorism threat. This should lead to a reenergised risk management strategy with likely realigned resourcing. For example, video surveillance systems need to be fit for purpose reflecting the particular security risk context.

There are opportunities across the security risk management spectrum, for example:

  • Retire and replace outdated security risk assessments from the pre-COVID period.
  • Assess the current physical security vulnerabilities – for your business, property and supply chain.
  • Revisit the Australian Government’s ‘Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism’. Other resources for guidance are available, contact us if you require assistance.
  • Ensure you have a credible and robust facility-specific security plan. The plan must fully appreciate physical security vulnerabilities, resilience, response and recovery. A security plan is different from the security Standing Operating Procedures (SOP). One difference is that security plans have well thought through contingencies.
  • Develop Security Alert Procedures (SAP) – sometimes referred to as Threat Alert Procedures. SAP are the pre-approved organisational responses to changes in national or corporate threat assessments. The levels in the Australian Government’s National Terrorism Threat Advisory System should be utilised.
  • Test the security plan.
  • Augment security and surveillance systems to meet terrorism threat scenarios. For example, seriously consider remote management of technical performance and integration with a mass emergency notification system (building EWIS is not adequate for response to terrorism).
  • Identify the training required for security personnel and facility teams to meet terrorism threat scenarios. Expert advice independent of your security personnel provider is highly recommended.
  • Assess security plans, operations and systems (including cyber vulnerabilities) by an independent expert.
  • Develop a Security Optimisation Strategy.


For a slightly deeper dive into ASIO’s assessment, go to the Director-General’s ASIO Annual Threat Assessment (March 2021).


We have advised our clients and published about the need for organisations to pivot their thinking towards the terrorist threat, for example:

The Festive Season and Security Risks – Aspects of the same Virus’


Happy to discuss. Stay safe.

Further information contact: Geoff Harris (+61) 419 462 798,

Note: The above discussion is of general nature only and intended to stimulate and focus conversation on security and related risk management. It lacks context. We do not provide endorsement or assessment on information or research provided by others that may be referenced in this article or their included references. The above discussion is not comprehensive and does not provide expert legal comment or advice. The discussion does not provide professional advice from us. Seek expert analysis and advice relevant to your specific context from trusted advisers.

© Harris Security Management, Sydney 2021