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File photo: counter-terrorism training exercise

Anti-terrorism exercise

Anti-terrorism exercise

File photo: counter-terrorism training exercise

Counter terrorism training exercise in the Latrobe Valley

A terrorism training exercise is being conducted in the Latrobe Valley this weekend.

Exercise Southern Magpie 19 is designed to allow the Australian Defence Force, police and emergency services to test their interoperability in complex security and emergency scenarios.

The exercise, part of the regular testing of Victoria’s response to counter terrorism incidents, will be conducted in the Loy Yang precinct south of Traralgon which they say allows for a range of situations that could occur in real-life.

Victoria Police Superintendent Mick West said that people may see an increased number of police and defence personnel in the area throughout the week of the exercise, however there should be no cause for concern.

“This is an exercise only and it’s important that the community understands that it is not in response to any real or current threat to the Latrobe Valley,” he said.

“The Loy Yang precinct is the perfect location for an exercise such as this and allows for a range of situations which could occur in a real-life incident to be tested.

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“It’s really focused on how police and the ADF would work together on a range of tasks when responding to this kind of threat, such as vehicle intercepts, road blocks, searches and more.

“An exercise such as this also allows us to examine areas where we might have difficulty, whether legally or more practically, so that any gaps in our interoperability can be identified and those issues can be resolved.

“Exercise Southern Magpie 19 gives us a great opportunity to work together with the ADF to test and refine our responses, and we’re really pleased to have this take place here in the Latrobe Valley.”

Planning for Exercise Southern Magpie 19 began more than 12 months ago with police, the ADF and the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs working closely with a range of stakeholders including Latrobe Valley infrastructure owners such as Alinta Energy, AGL Energy, Basslink and Snowy Hydro Limited.

This exercise forms part of the Australian Government’s investment in counter terrorism capability through the Australia New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC). The ANZCTC allocates around $1.8 million per annum to conduct counter terrorism exercises nationally.

The exercise will not have any impact on the ongoing operation of infrastructure or businesses within the Loy Yang precinct.

Around 200 personnel will be involved in the exercise and will be drawn from a range of specialist areas across both Victoria Police and the ADF.

Members of the public travelling near the Loy Yang precinct may see Victoria Police and ADF personnel in full uniform, including firearms, and a number of different operational vehicles will also be present.

There is no opportunity for members of the public to attend the exercise.

Hyland Highway and Bartons Lane is expected to be closed through the Loy Yang precinct for several hours on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Road blocks will be in place on the highway to redirect traffic. Police are also asking that people do not stop along the road as it will be used by police and the ADF during the exercise.

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