Security arrangements for Parliament House are under review. Photo: Thinkstock
The level of anti-terror protection for the nation’s federal politicians at Canberra’s Parliament House is under review.
The Australian Federal Police, which provides the guards to patrol the building’s perimeter, expects job losses as part of the process but parliamentary authorities say no decision have been made.
AFP protective services officers, specially trained in anti-terrorist first response tactics as well as close protection work, to patrol the building’s exterior and extensive grounds while DPS officers are responsible for security inside the building.
But the contract between the Parliament and the AFP has expired and DPS has hired external experts to try to find savings after millions of dollars were spent on “physical” security upgrades around the building in the past two years.
The Canberra Times revealed on Wednesday that the anti-terror protection force at some of Australia’s key military bases is to be slashed as Defence Department struggles to find budget savings in a move expected to cut up to 110 jobs.
A spokeswoman for Parliamentary Services confirmed that a review was under way.
“The Department of Parliamentary Services has had a contract in place for a number of years with the AFP for it to deliver certain security services at Parliament House,” she said.
“DPS is currently undertaking a review of security arrangements for Parliament House for the 44th Parliament.
“As part of this process it has engaged an experienced consultant to provide independent advice on the nature and scale of external security requirements over the next three years, taking into account recent major security upgrades.”
The spokeswoman said it was too early to make a decision on the number of guards needed to patrol the building.
“The AFP is being consulted as part of this process,” she said.
“No decision on the ongoing arrangements between DPS and the AFP will be made until the report has been considered.”