Home > Threat of homemade bombs prompts review of security risks associated with farm chemicals

Threat of homemade bombs prompts review of security risks associated with farm chemicals

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article image Reforms are currently being considered for guidelines relating to the storage and handling of 11 precursor chemicals used in a range of industry applications
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The Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has called on farmers to help keep Australia safe by putting forward ideas on how to reduce the potential for agricultural chemicals to be used in terrorist attacks.

Attorney-General Roxon explains that certain everyday chemicals commonly used in farming for fertilisation, weed control and pest eradication can be used to create potentially deadly homemade bombs.

As a result, she is calling on farmers to provide their views on how to ensure that actions taken by government to protect the community from this risk are workable and cost effective.

"Currently, standard anti-theft industry practices and workplace health and safety regulations such as those that provide for the safe storage of chemicals make it difficult for these chemicals to fall into the wrong hands but we know more needs to be done to restrict access," she adds.

The Government is seeking public comment on four options designed to address the security risks posed by eleven chemicals of security concern. These chemicals are the first of 96 set to be reviewed through the Council of Australian Government’s Chemical Security Management Framework.

The precursor chemicals being considered as part of the consultation process are:

  • ammonium perchlorate
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • nitric acid
  • nitromethane
  • potassium chlorate
  • potassium nitrate
  • potassium perchlorate
  • sodium azide
  • sodium chlorate
  • sodium nitrate; and
  • sodium perchlorate.

“Industry representatives have been involved in the development of the Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) and continued input in this consultation will be extremely valuable," Attorney-General Roxon says.

The four options subject to consultation are:

  • a targeted awareness campaign
  • industry-led codes of practice
  • a government-led code of practice; and
  • supply chain regulation.

Submissions are open now, and can be received until 30th March, 2012. Further information on how to make a submission can be found online, or by contacting the Attorney-General's Department.

Photo: a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from JohannCoetzer's Flickr photo stream

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