Call to beef up security at airport in wake of terror arrests
A FOILED terrorist attack in Sydney this week has an aviation expert calling for stronger security at regional airports including Bundaberg.
A Sydney-based terror plot to bring down a plane involved a fully functioning IED which had been assembled from components under the instruction of an Islamic State commander, the Australian Federal Police will allege.
The men are accused of planning a terrorist act between July 16 and July 29 this year, according to a police charge sheet.
CQUniversity senior lecturer in aviation Ronald Bishop, who served 24 years in the US Air Force Special Operations, said regional airports could be a target in the future because their security was lax.
"If you drive a fertiliser truck right up to the terminal at Bundaberg Airport it would be all over,” he said.
"I'm not saying it's a high-risk area but the Federal Government should do a review of all regional airports.
"They should test these regional areas out because if I was a terrorist that's where I would go.”
Mr Bishop said although regional airports were low-risk terrorist risks they could one day provide a tantalising option for a terrorist organisation or a lone wolf.
"What do terrorists want to do?” Mr Bishop asked.
"They want to disrupt, terrorise and get publicity.
"If you hit a regional area you would still get a tonne of press.”
As nervous travellers become accustomed to terrorist threats overseas, Mr Bishop said the latest thwarted terrorist attack in Australia would not be the last.
He believes as countries like Britain and France clamp down on terrorist groups, terrorists may test countries like Australia, Canada and New Zealand as they may be deemed softer targets.
"The Sydney target was a great example of that,” he said.
"The only reason they (authorities) found about that is because the British and Americans warned us about them.”
While Australia's National Terrorism Threat Level remains at probable, Police Commissioner Ian Stewart has moved to reassure the community there is no specific threat to the state.
Mr Stewart said partner agencies had kept the Queensland Police Service regularly updated throughout the ongoing counter-terrorism operation.
"We have all been concerned and disturbed at what our interstate and federal colleagues have uncovered in Sydney, but I want to stress that this thorough investigation has been confined to NSW and there is no connection to Queensland,” he said.
A Bundaberg Regional Council spokesman said it had not been advised of any alteration to existing security arrangements at Bundaberg Airport.