Big changes hit Aussie airports for Christmas

Anti-terror police armed with assault rifles will patrol Brisbane and Canberra airports this Christmas.

Squads will be stationed in seven more airports over the next 18 months.

The extra 135 officers will be armed with MK18 short-barrelled rifles and trained to assess hostile threats and behaviour.

They will be accompanied by bomb-detection dogs.

Armed anti-terror police and bomb-detection dogs will be a normal sight at Australian airports this summer. Picture: Lukas CochSource:AAP

“These highly-trained officers run towards dangerous incidents, not away from them,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today.

“It is vital they have every resource necessary to help them do their job and protect the community.”

Australia’s terror threat remains at “probable”.

“Today’s announcement doesn’t reflect a change to the alert and risk level that’s in place,” the prime minister said.

“But what it does recognise is an understanding of the new world which we all live in today.”

Passengers will also be required to carry identification on them from April next year as the government attempts to crack down on criminals travelling under fake names.

Australia, unlike many other countries, does not require ID for domestic travellers.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison with a drug-detection dog. Picture: Lukas CochSource:AAP

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the threat of terror had not diminished.

“We know that Australia is at risk,” he said.

“In July 2017, a major terrorist plot was disrupted targeting a passenger flight departing from Sydney.

“Just this week, our law enforcement agencies have arrested a 21 year old who is alleged to have been involved in advocating and preparing for terrorist acts.

“We know that for whatever reason terrorists will always look at airports as a target point.

“I want … all those that are travelling this Christmas through our airports to be reassured by the presence of these officers.”

Money for the gradual security boost was included in the federal budget earlier this year.

The officers will eventually be stationed in all capital cities except Hobart, as well as airports in Cairns and the Gold Coast over the next 18 months.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces counter-terrorism with Peter Dutton. Picture: Lukas CochSource:AAP

An AFP officer holds an Mk18 Short-Barrel Rifle. Picture: Lukas CochSource:AAP

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