Australia has changed its terror alert system, effective 27 November 2015, to give the public clearer information about attacks being planned by extremists. This is under a proposed new threat hierarchy unveiled in February 2015.

The current four-tier terror alert system describes levels of risk from “low” to “high” and “extreme”. It is to be replaced with a system that says how likely an attack is at any point. The highest threat levels are now that attacks are “expected” or “certain”.

Each level would be based on a specific type of advice provided to the government by security agencies. For example, a threat level of “probable” means the government has been advised that terrorists with the capacity to carry out an attack have a specific target.

The new terror alert system combines the existing “threat level”, which is an assessment of the overall threat to Australia and its interests, and the “alert level”, which is about public preparedness, into a single system. Figure 1 depicts the new alert levels.

Currently, the Terror Threat Level for Australia is ‘Probable’. Credible intelligence, assessed by our security agencies indicates that individuals or groups have developed both the intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia.

The public should continue to exercise caution and report any suspicious incidents to the National Security Hotline by calling 1800 1234 00. Life-threatening situations should be reported to the police by calling Triple Zero (000).

More public information regarding the new Terror Alert System is available at the Australian National Security website.

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