Canberra, July 18 (IANS) Australia will create a new super-ministry modelled after the UK Home Office to oversee all its domestic national security agencies, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Tuesday.
The Home Affairs ministry, to be headed by incumbent Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, will manage security agencies including police and intelligence, reports the BBC.
Turnbull described it as the most significant reform of national security arrangements “in more than 40 years”.
“The new portfolio will be similar to the United Kingdom’s Home Office arrangement, a federation, if you will, of border and security agencies,” he told the media.
“Let me be quite clear, this is not a US-style Department of Homeland Security.”
In explaining the distinction, Turnbull said each agency will “retain their current statutory independence”, the BBC reported.
The portfolio will oversee major agencies including the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Border Force.
Turnbull said the new ministry will allow Australia to better respond to future security threats.
“We cannot take an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach to security arrangements,” he said.
“Not least because our adversaries are agile and nimble, constantly adapting and evolving to defeat our defences. We need more enduring and better integrated arrangements.”
He said he expects the ministry overhaul to be completed by July 2018.
On Monday, Turnbull announced the Australian military would be given broad new powers to respond to domestic terrorist attacks.