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It’s Fortress Brisbane – the huge security operation for G20 conference $370M taxpayer money

BRISBANE’S G20 fortress will be guarded by up to 7000 police and army, roof-top snipers, fighter jets and helicopters while specialist divers could be used in Brisbane River.

Counter-terrorism experts have deemed the $370 million event in 2014 a “moderate” risk, maintaining a terrorist attack could occur because of the US President.

“Given the nature of the event, the presence of some of the most powerful leaders of the planet, the event will be regarded as requiring a very serious counter-terrorism plan,” said Neil Fergus, chief executive of Intelligent Risks and security adviser to the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Rio 2016 Olympic bid.

Experts said army aircraft such as FA-18 Super Hornets and Black Hawk helicopters would probably assist sniper teams, with hotels booked out a month in advance for security teams to sweep areas.

Ferry access could be limited and areas of South Bank closed, while residents living within secured areas would need permits. A cruise ship may be required to meet accommodation needs for the event running from November 15-16, 2014, Mr Fergus said.

Roadblocks manned by police will check credentials at hard and soft perimeters and when delegates move to Brisbane’s Convention Centre, in West End, rolling lockdowns will take place across the city, with large delays.

The Federal Government has not ruled out surface-to-air missile systems used at six sites at the 2012 London Olympics.

Mr Fergus said a “security planning cell” may be formed within the G20 Taskforce, headed by Dr Gordon de Brouwer from the Prime Minister’s department, which would consult on perimeters and transport.

Members of the Secret Service reportedly determined hard perimeter points for Pittsburgh’s G20 meeting in 2009, using concrete barricades, fencing and heavy vehicles. Issues included blast zones, with pedestrian access checkpoints and soft perimeters of restricted vehicle access going back four streets.

Experts estimated 7000 police and security would be needed for Brisbane’s G20, compared with 21,000 for the Toronto G20 summit in 2010. Former Canadian paratrooper and G8 security member Andy McCutcheon said that up to 12 sniper teams could be needed to guard the Convention Centre and divers could be used in the Brisbane River.

Mr Fergus said the Queensland Police Commissioner should have “ultimate responsibility”, working with federal and state police, SAS, ASIO and other agencies, security contractors and G20-member security.

An airspace protection plan with defence force flyovers was commonplace for high-profile events, along with police cancelling leave, training, optional court matters and non-essential prisoner movements.

The Australian Government has protocol for foreign bodyguards to hand over firearms, with US, Russia and China understood to require consultation. Ross Milosevic, a security expert, said “fanatic” terrorists could be planning attacks.

dibbenk@qnp.newsltd .com.au

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