The Courier-Mail

Terror tsar stunned by threats facing Oz

- SIMON BENSON

THE country’s first national security tsar has warned that the new and unpreceden­ted threat of terrorism in Australia could be with us for decades, possibly a generation to come.

In a stark assessment of the growing security risk, national counter-terrorism co-ordinator Greg Moriarty revealed he had been “stunned” by the classified intelligen­ce briefings on the extent of the threats facing the nation.

In his first interview since his appointmen­t three weeks ago to the most powerful counter-terrorism role in the country, Mr Moriarty told The Courier-Mail the threats were something everyone should be deeply concerned about.

“The number of people supporting Daesh (ISIS), compared to 18 months ago, the number of people travelling, is rising,” he said. “The length of time and the extent of the challenge, we are probably talking many years … possibly a generation … to deal with it.”

The Courier-Mail last week revealed the number of Australian­s now identified as fighting alongside terrorists in Iraq or Syria had risen to 110.

Mr Moriarty, the former Ambassador to Indonesia and Iran, said in his years dealing with Jemaah Islamiah and alQa’ida, the terrorist model became well-known. “But this is a new phenomenon … and we have to adapt,” he said.

Mr Moriarty said the reality of the threat become apparent to him when he received classified briefings from spy and counter-terrorism agency chiefs.

“I was alert to it but I’ve been stunned by the depth of the problem and the extent of it,” Mr Moriarty said before the global summit on countering violent extremism in Sydney tomorrow.

Mr Moriarty said the greatest casualties of terrorism had been Muslims and one of his key roles would be engaging the community.

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