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Chemicals of security concern

Australia faces a significant threat from terrorism and there is a real risk of some commonly available chemicals being used for a terrorist attack on our own soil.

Chemicals of security concern

We can reduce this risk by ensuring that good security measures are in place across the chemical supply chain - from importers, manufacturers and transporters right through to retailers - as well as in places where chemicals are used, such as laboratories, farms and in food manufacture and processing.

The voluntary National  Code of Practice for Chemicals of Security Concern (the code) identifies 15 high risk chemicals which include 11 chemical precursors to homemade explosives and four toxic chemicals that are considered to be of high risk for possible use in a toxic device.

Businesses are being urged to continue to help safeguard Australia from terrorism by remaining vigilant when it comes to using, handling, storing, selling, transporting and disposing of chemicals. In particular, businesses and their workers have a crucial role to play in protecting themselves and the wider public if they suspect chemicals are being misused.

The code is based on good business practices that prevent the loss and theft of chemicals and helps to identify the steps that need to be taken to reduce risk where it can be done in a cost effective and balanced way.

Further information

The Australian National Security website provides more information about chemical security, including the code.

Any suspicious behaviour or activities should be reported to the National Security Hotline on 1800 1234 00 or hotline@nationalsecurity.gov.au.

View a range of resources to help raise awareness about chemical security.

Chemical security films

Chemical security for small business owners and managers

This film provides general advice to small business employers involved in the sale of chemicals of security concern. Train your staff to be chemical security aware.

  • Read transcript
    • [Image shows footage of a news report being played. Sirens can be heard and a reporter 'these are the devastating scenes unfolding as emergency crews rush to tend to the wounded']

      [Image changes to show Harry seated at a bar with a beer watching the footage on television. The voice of the reporter continues to be heard 'the number of causalities is not yet known and the source of the blast is yet to be confirmed, however, police will be mounting a full investigation']

      [Image shows Tom the barman talking to Harry]

      Tom: How does something like that happen?  Eh?  How do they put a bomb together?

      Harry: You'd be surprised how easy it all is. Mate, even I could sell you the chemicals you need...

      [Image shows Harry pausing and footage of the events that unfolded being played in reverse. A man can be seen getting into a white van and leaving a carpark]

      [Image changes back to Harry and Tom at the bar]

      Maybe it wasn't even sold to the bombers. I mean, if a bloke was a bit slack with his security...

      [Image shows a man walking out of a garage and not securing the gate behind him. A hooded man enters and can be seen taking items of the shelf]

      [Image changes to show Harry doing a stock take of items in a shop. He pauses when he gets to a spot where pool sanitiser has been knocked over and looks around the shop]

      Tom: Well, you guys wouldn't be that hopeless Harry, not if you stocked dangerous kit, but the stuff you keep, it's harmless isn't it?

      [Image changes to show a man at a stove pouring and mixing things in big saucepans and then changes back to Harry]

      Harry: Why, because it doesn't have the word 'explosive' written on it?  Just take a look on the internet.

      [Image changes to show the man looking at information on a computer screen and then back to Tom and Harry at the bar]

      Tom: You'd have to be bloody careful then.

      Harry: You're absolutely right.

      Tom: Train your staff and everything I imagine?

      Harry: Yes you're spot-on Tom, you're spot-on.

      [Image changes to show Harry looking for something in an office. He opens a pamphlet entitled, Training: is your staff chemical security aware? Harry picks up the pamphlet and walks off]

      [Image has changed back to Harry and Tom at the bar]

      Harry: It's a wake-up call mate, I don't mind admitting. 

      [Image changes back to show the footage played at the beginning where there has been an explosion]

      [Image changes to show Harry back in the store addressing his staff as he holds up the Training: is your staff chemical security aware? pamphlet]

      Harry: If I can have your attention, please? I'm sure you've all seen the news.  So, here's what we're going to do.

      [Screen turns black and text appears on screen: Are your employees chemical security aware?]

      [Logo and text appears on screen: If you suspect it report it, chemical security. National Security Hotline 1800 1234 00, hotline@nationalsecurity.gov.au, www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/chemicalsecurity]

      [Image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms with text: Australian Government]

      RUN TIME: 2 min 3 sec

Chemical security for employees

This film provides general advice to small business employees involved in the sale of chemicals of security concern. What are some suspicious behaviour to look out for? If you suspect it, report it to the National Security Hotline.

  • Read transcript
    • [Image show footage of a news report being played on a television. Sirens can be heard and a reporter 'these are the devastating scenes unfolding as emergency crews rush to tend to the wounded']

      [Image changes to show John sitting at the kitchen table watching the television. The voice of the reporter continues to be heard 'the number of causalities is not yet known and the source of the blast is yet to be confirmed, however, police will be mounting a full investigation']

      [Image show John's wife entering the room and puts her hand on his shoulder. The voice of the reporter continues to be heard 'police are currently seeking any information on a white van that could be related to the...']

      John's wife: What's going on?

      John: There's been an explosion. It looks real bad. People have been hurt.

      John's wife:  How could this happen?

      John: I have no idea. Someone has really messed-up.

      [Image changes to show footage of the events that unfolded being played in reverse. A man can be seen getting into a white van, leaving a carpark and then moves to show John greeting him as he's stacking shelves in a warehouse type setting]

      John: Oh, hi there.

      [Image shows the customer handing a piece of paper over to John]

      Male: Can you guys do all that?

      [Image shows John reading the piece of paper]

      John: You must have a pretty massive backyard.

      Male: It's not all for me, mate.

      John: Fair enough—you got an account with us?

      Male: I'll pay cash.

      John: Well I'm gonna... I, ah, need to see some ID.

      Male: Why?

      John: It's company policy, mate.

      Male: Look, I don't have time for all this.

      John: Alright, no worries, why don't you head around to the loading dock and I'll see what I can do.

      [Image changes to show the same customer John just served in a garage mixing and pouring chemicals into glass beakers]

      [Image changes to show John knocking on the door of a woman who's seated at a desk reading]

      Female: Yes, John.

      [Image shows John handing the piece of paper he received from the customer over to female]

      John: And he said he wants to pay cash.

      [Image shows the female nodding as she hands the piece of paper back to John]

      [Image changes to show the same customer John just served in a garage soldering wires. He then shuts the garage door and drives away in a white van]

      [Image shows John pushing a trolley through the shop and collecting the items from the customers list]

      [Image changes back to show the footage played at the beginning where there has been an explosion]

      [Image changes back to show John now packing the items into the boot of the customer's white van]

      John: Sorry pal, we're a few bags short, but the guys, they're going to see if we can some more.

      [Screen turns black and text appears on screen: Suspect it? Report it.]

      [Logo and text appears on screen: If you suspect it report it, chemical security. National Security Hotline 1800 1234 00, hotline@nationalsecurity.gov.au, www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/chemicalsecurity]

      [Image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms with text: Australian Government]

      RUN TIME: 2 min 13 sec

Chemical security in the community

This film provides general advice to the community about suspicious behaviour relating to chemicals of security concern. Trust your instincts—if you suspect it, report it to the National Security Hotline.

  • Read transcript
    • [Image show footage of a news report being played. Sirens can be heard and a reporter 'these are the devastating scenes unfolding as emergency crews rush to tend to the wounded. The number of causalities is not yet known and the source of the blast is yet to be confirmed']

      [Image changes to show Jackie watching the footage of the news report on a handheld device. The voice of the reporter continues to be heard 'police are currently seeking any information on a white van that could be related to the incident']

      [Image shows Martin enter the room and sit down on a couch. The voice of the reporter continues to be heard 'if you or anyone you know have any information that could assist authorities with their investigation please call the number...']

      Martin: Lost something?

      Jackie: The people who moved in opposite, they had a van like this didn't they?

      [Image shows Jackie handing Martin the handheld device she was watching. Footage of the vans actions appears on screen]

      [Image shows the man in the van being stopped at a gate and another man reviewing a piece of paper the man in the van has passed to him]

      Male: You know the date on here's for last week? I won't let you through if it's wrong next time.

      [Image shows the man handing back the piece of paper to the man in the van and then van drives off]

      [Image has changed back to show Martin on the couch watching the footage on the handheld device]

      Martin: Yeah, I guess.

      [Camera moves back to Jackie staring out the window. She shrugs her shoulders]

      Jackie: I watched them coming and going.

      [Image shows the van in the street and then changes to show the man in the van at a stove pouring and mixing things in big saucepans and then moves back to show Jackie and Martin]

      Martin: What are you on about?

      [Camera zooms in on Jackie and then moves back to show Martin]

      But you don't think...

      Jackie: Something seemed a bit odd and then the other day, when you ran past...

      [Image shows footage of Martin running. As Martin bends down to catch his breath he spots an overflowing waste bin of empty containers of pool sanitiser outside of the house where the white van is parked. Martin looks at the house and walks away]

      [Image shows Martin returning home and Jackie is seated at a table reading]

      Good run?

      Martin: Yeah... um... they don't have a swimming pool?

      Jackie: Who?

      Martin: Over the road. Seems strange to me that that they'd use all those chemicals.

      [Image shows Jackie turning to look out a window]

      [Image changes back to show the footage played at the beginning where there has been an explosion]

      [Image changes back to show Jackie looking out the window and Martin walks over to her]

      Jackie:  I think... I think we should have called someone.

      [Screen turns black and text appears on screen: Suspect it? Report it.]

      [Logo and text appears on screen: If you suspect it report it, chemical security. National Security Hotline 1800 1234 00, hotline@nationalsecurity.gov.au, www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/chemicalsecurity]

      [Image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms with text: Australian Government]

      RUN TIME: 1 min 58 sec

Last updated
12 September 2017

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