Australia’s terror alert will remain at medium despite the United Kingdom increasing its assessment of risk from substantial to severe, the second-highest level.
The alert level is regularly reviewed by authorities and would be increased to high “if it were deemed that a terrorist attack is likely to occur,” Attorney-General George Brandis said in a statement on Saturday.
Senator Brandis said the government was seriously concerned that about 60 Australians were fighting in Syria and Iraq and another 100 were believed to be involved.
“We remain in close contact with the United Kingdom and other partners about the threat from terrorist groups active in Syria and Iraq, and from returning foreign fighters,” he said.
The UK’s terror level was on Friday boosted to severe but Home Secretary Theresa May said there wasn’t any specific threat.
“This move by the United Kingdom indicates the significance of the threat posed by the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq,” Senator Brandis said.
The medium terror alert means that a terrorist attack could occur.
It’s still safe to travel to the UK, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said.
“So long as Australian people abide by any warnings or suggestions they have in place, they should be able to travel there quite safely,” he said.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and when there is a need to make a change we will. But at this stage we will take the advice and act when or if it becomes necessary.”
Mr Truss said Australians have been shocked by what they’re seeing on their TV screens.
“And any suggestions that this kind of activity could come to Australia absolutely appals our country, and so we do have a responsibility to take action and make sure that doesn’t happen.”