Workers install concrete bollards at the entrance to Queen Street mall in central Brisbane, Thursday, July 13, 2017. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING
Workers install concrete bollards at the entrance to Queen Street mall in central Brisbane, Thursday, July 13, 2017. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING DAN PELED

‘Unsightly’ protections against terror popping up in Aussie cities

ATTRACTIVE statues and seats acting as barricades in popular stadiums, bridges, shopping centres and shared traffic zones across the country are part of a new plan to block terrorists from ploughing vehicles into pedestrians.

A report called Australia's Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism, warned that terrorists are seeking larger vehicles such as trucks to carry large amounts of explosive to cause greater casualties and that barriers including concrete bollards, planter boxes or monuments should be used for protection.

It also highlighted the risk of terror cells using chemical weapons, warning that "mass casualties" are possible.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull commissioned the report following the 2016 Nice terror attack which saw a Tunisian claiming links to the Islamic State group killed 86 people.

Following the tragedy, Nice residents questioned why city authorities hadn't installed barriers - even though IS extremists had explicitly encouraged followers to "crush" enemies with cars.

Mr Turnbull announced a new national security strategy with the release of the report today.

Aside from maintaining constant vigilance there will be a greater use of permanent bollards to separate vehicles from pedestrians and more use of police and agencies around mass gatherings.

"You can have bollards, you can have seating. (For example), some of the seating in the Pitt St mall is positioned in a way that would provide a barrier to a vehicle," Mr Turnbull said.

The new barriers could come in the form of steps, art and statues, according to the prime minister.

"At the design stage it can be done very unobtrusively," he said.

"This work has been underway for a year. It's been finalised recently, discussed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). All jurisdictions, states and territories are very familiar with it.

"It's part of our continuous program of optimising and improving the way we can keep Australians safe."

The plan was given to Australian businesses and councils last week, and outlines ways to prevent vehicle attacks similar to those seen in Barcelona, Nice, and London.

It comes with a do-it-yourself toolkit on installing bollards and planters, and other methods of mitigating a hostile vehicle attack to businesses, councils and private operators.

It also provides guidelines on chemical attacks and what should be done in such instances.

The document has been prepared by the Australian New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee and focuses on the collaboration between police, local councils, state governments and private operators to protect public spaces.

"We will never be cowered nor will we bow to terrorism," Mr Turnbull told reporters earlier today.

"We will defeat the terrorists. What we must do is take every step we can to protect Australians ... making crowded places more resilient to vehicle attacks."

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller today said the likelihood of a terror attack on home soil remained at "probable".

Kieran Salsone

Transport Minister Darren Chester described combating terrorism as a "constant battle".

"It is a tragic reflection of our times that we need to be taking these sorts of measures," Mr Chester told ABC television on Sunday.

It comes just days after the terrorist attack in Barcelona in which terrorists used a van to mow down innocent people in a crowded area. More than a dozen people were killed and a seven-year-old Australian boy remains unaccounted for.

From Barcelona to Times Square and beyond, extremists have continued to use vehicles as deadly weapons with alarming frequency in recent years, most often to promote jihad.

In response, unsightly concrete blocks, as well as more aesthetic deterrents including planter boxes and statues, have sprouted up in front of landmarks and ordinary public places around the world.

Security experts say the barriers would have minimised the fatal damage inflicted on Spain this week - yet warn that as long as motor vehicles exist, some risks will always remain.

The last 13 months have seen nearly a dozen vehicle-ramming attacks in Europe and the US, as well as car bombings in the Mideast and beyond.

Federal Minister Arthur Sinodinos this morning told the ABC the Australian government has "put down the policy around crowded places".

"We say to the owners and operators of crowded places is we will work all levels of government, police force and the like, help audit your facilities, determine through a security assessment tool where you have particular issues then work out a strategy to strengthen and fortify these issues," Mr Sinodinos said.

"You can't guarantee an end won't happen but you can take measures to first of all deter, detect, then, where possible, ameliorate any consequences," Mr Sinodinos said.

According to the minister, Australians have "had a mentality of 'live and let live' and 'we can walk around doing whatever we want' for a long time.

"We have to have more of that 'be alert but not alarmed' mentality, which is in a security setting, be it my place of work or entertainment setting, what can I do to take measures to give us a greater chance of deterring someone from doing something," he said.

"It may be as simple as putting bollards in certain places or putting CCTV cams in the right places. We need that mentality now."

Maki Haberfeld, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said heavily armed police officers were a better deterrent than bollards but that open settings like Times Square will always be an appealing target. New York City has installed steel bollards all around town, and some streets near the stock exchange, the 9/11 memorial and police headquarters have retractable barriers that prevent vehicles entering at all. One bollard notably ended a rampage in Times Square in May by a mentally disturbed driver who ran down 23 people.

"It spreads even more fear than targeting an aeroplane or a building that has symbolic value, because people can say, 'I'm not going to fly, I'm not going to visit the Empire State Building,"' Ms Haberfeld said. "But people have to walk. People have to go to work."

A security expert told that "bollards alone" will never been enough to prevent opportunistic terror attacks. But supporters of the initiatives say bollards, despite being visually unappealing, do offer tighter security in densely populated public areas. And they're already appearing in capital cities across Australia, with plans for many more to come.

SYDNEY exclusively reported in June that concrete barricades were being installed in Sydney's Martin Place, where the deadly Lindt Cafe siege took place, to prevent a London or Nice inspired terror attack.

A City of Sydney spokesman told the council was installing concrete barricades in Martin Place, between Phillip and Elizabeth Streets, as part of ongoing work "to review and strengthen security in public places".

"The City of Sydney takes advice from NSW Police and state emergency services on issues of public safety, including the installation of bollards and barricades to block vehicle access in response to security concerns," the spokesman said.

The introduction of the bollards was not response to any specific threat, according to the council.

"Barricades or bollards will be rolled out to other stages in Martin Place over the coming weeks after further consultation with NSW Police and emergency services," the spokesperson said.

"The City is continuing to work with NSW Police on reviewing public places of mass gathering, on City of Sydney land, to determine if additional bollards or barricades are required."

There are currently over 2,500 bollards on City of Sydney controlled land but not all were introduced as anti terror measures. The cost for the supply and installation of a bollard can vary depending on the use between $1,000 and $5,000, according to the council.

A Property NSW spokesman told it has also introduced anti-terror security measures "to restrict vehicle access at Darling Harbour and The Rocks, including enhanced security measures at three access points at Iron Wharf Place, Moriarty Walk and Zollner Circuit".

"Under the NSW Counter Terrorism Plan, police support the owners and operators of critical infrastructure, providing guidance on appropriate risk based security measures to counter threats from terrorism," the spokesman said.

"All security arrangements are made in consultation with NSW Police."

It came after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called for bollards to be placed in busy pedestrian areas nationwide following the deadly Bourke Street rampage in Melbourne earlier this year.


Last month, Melburnians woke up to more than 100 new bollards lined outside public areas including Southern Cross station, Southbank Boulevard and other key locations.

"At the request of the State Government and Victoria Police, the City of Melbourne has placed additional protective blocks at key pedestrian locations in the city," a statement from a City of Melbourne spokesman read at the time.

"Around 140 temporary concrete protective blocks have been placed at eight locations.

"The concrete barriers will provide greater security to people visiting and gathering in the city."

But critics labelled the measures "ugly" and expressed concern over potential impacts on livability quality and tourism.

One Melbourne resident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described the blocks as "eyesores".

"It's only one step away from armed guards with machine guns and night curfews for residents," he told

"Safety is important but so is keeping the place attractive for locals and tourists to want to live and visit. There's got to be a better way to do it."

The newest bollards at eight key Melbourne locations are in addition to 66 already installed on June 10 in the Bourke St Mall and at Federation Square.

The first ones were installed after the fatal Bourke Street rampage in which a car mowed through crowds in the mall, killing six people, including a 10-year-old girl, in January this year.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the terror attacks in Nice and France had inspired work around making Melbourne safer.

"There is a balance to be struck here in keeping the city functional and doing everything we can to make attacks, events, crimes, evil like what we saw (on Bourke St) much harder (to commit)," he said when announcing the initiative.

"There's no time to be wasted here. The threat of terror ‒ the threat of hostile vehicle attacks, the threats to public safety ‒ are all too real.

"We weren't going to wait around for six months or 12 months while planter boxes are built so they look better."

Police Minister Lisa Neville said the government had to act quickly and the current concrete blocks were only temporary.

"These are temporary, these are not what people will have to put up with forever," she told radio station 3AW in June.

"This has been in response to international incidents and we just thought 'we can't wait'.

"It would be great if we didn't need to have this, it does change the nature of our city a little bit."

Orange and white plastic bollards have also been placed between some of the city's pedestrian thoroughfares and roads.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has previously said bollards have the potential to make a city look like a fortress.

"It's not my preference to have 'fortress Melbourne'," Mr Doyle said in May.

Mr Doyle later told that council was "moving towards permanent measures" after responding to requests from police with temporary protective blocks.

"We'll look first at street furniture, planter boxes and rubbish bins, which can be reinforced and turned into unobtrusive but effective safety measures," he said.

"Then we'll look at versions of the green "heritage" style bollards that you can see near Flinders Street Station and towards Princes Bridge.

"After that, we'll look at fixed bollards and retractable bollards. We'll take advice from the police on their placement.

"I recently travelled to Chicago where they've used flower beds along the footpaths, surrounded by bluestone, as a form of bollard.

"What looks like a very attractive street treatment is in fact an effective safety measure. We're looking at this approach."


Sixteen anti-terrorist pop-up bollards on the Esplanade in Surfers Paradise will be all that stands in between an out-of-control vehicle and pedestrians.

The Gold Coast City Council is spending $500,000 to install the bollards across the Esplanade to help protect pedestrians from terrorists who use trucks and large vehicles to plough into pedestrians, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the bollards were so strong they could stop a high speed truck and still retract and pop-up for the next event.

The retractable heavy-duty pillars will be put up during major events in Surfers Paradise and in emergency situations.

Police and council workers will control when the bollards are in use.

The bollards will be placed on the Esplanade by the end of the year.


Adelaide's Rundle Mall has had permanent bollards in place to increase security since early this year.

"Places need to be safe and they also need to be seen to be safe. There's a perception and reality thing we need to manage," Lord Mayor Martin Haese told ABC radio in January.

Mr Haese said Rundle Mall was the city's main retail area and a key public space.

The bollards are placed at either end of the mall and were designed to allow traders access in vehicles at different times.

Mr Haese said the council was continuing to work with the state government to ensure the safety of public events across the city.

"We recognise, quite unfortunately, that we're probably operating in a somewhat different environment than what we were a few years ago," he said.

"That's a little bit sad in itself but it might be a reality."

News Corp Australia

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