The NSW government will introduce legislation within a fortnight to provide certainty to police officers who need to use lethal force against terrorists, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced.
The Premier on Thursday said the government “accepted and supported” all 45 recommendations made by Coroner Michael Barnes in late May following the inquest into the Lindt Cafe siege of December 2014.
“As we have seen as recently as this week in Melbourne and on the weekend with the cowardly, evil acts in London, we need to be ever-vigilant to the emerging and evolving risks of terrorism,” Ms Berejiklian said in a statement.
“NSW will continue to have the toughest counter-terror laws in the country and we will now give our police clear protections if they need to use lethal force against terrorists.”
Ms Berejiklian said the legislation would be introduced in the next sitting week of parliament, which starts on Tuesday June 20.
Additionally, officers from the state’s Public Order and Riot Squad will have access to rapid-fire weapons by the end of the year.
The guns were earlier reported to be the M4 Colt Carbine, a shorter and lighter variant of the Vietnam-era M16 assault rifle, which it is now replacing in US military units.
Police Commissioner Mick Fuller on Thursday said the roll out of the long-arm firearms would dramatically increase the force’s capability to combat terrorism.
At present only the tactical operations unit carries long arms, which are typically rifles, and Mr Fuller said expanding the capability to the riot squad would provide another layer of support.
The commissioner said riot squad officers wouldn’t always carry the weapons in public but they’d always be close at hand.
The Berejiklian government will also introduce draft laws to tighten parole provisions “by requiring consideration of links to terrorism”, the premier said on Thursday.
Cafe manager Tori Johnson and Sydney barrister Katrina Dawson were killed in the Lindt Cafe when the Martin Place stand-off came to a horrific end in the early hours of December 16, 2014.
Gunman Man Haron Monis was shot by specialist police who stormed the stronghold 17 hours after he walked into the building with a shotgun and took 18 people hostage.
Monis was free on bail at the time despite facing 40 serious charges for sex offences and accessory to the murder of his estranged wife.
Mr Barnes found snipers had a 10-minute window during which they could have taken a “kill shot” at the terrorist but they doubted their legal power to use lethal force as well as having concerns a visible head belonged to the gunman.
The coroner recommended the police minister consider whether police power laws should be amended to ensure officers “have sufficient legal protection to respond to terrorist incidents”.