Armed police block a road near to the Manchester Arena in central Manchester, England, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert in northern England late Monday, killing over a dozen people and injuring dozens in what police say they are treating as a terrorist attack. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Armed police block a road near to the Manchester Arena in central Manchester, England, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. An explosion struck an Ariana Grande concert in northern England late Monday, killing over a dozen people and injuring dozens in what police say they are treating as a terrorist attack. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira) Rui Vieira

Terror experts on likelihood of an attack in CQ

AS the shockwaves of Manchester's horrific attack reverberate around the world, counter terrorism have urged Central Queenslanders to keep things in perspective.

The University of Wollongong's Dr Mark Rix said there was "little likelihood of a terrorist attack like the one carried out in Manchester being launched in Rockhampton or the broader Central Queensland region”.

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"I reach this tentative conclusion on the basis that there is, for example, no high profile target in the region,” Dr Rix said.

"I would think it is very unlikely that the Shoalwater Bay joint training exercises would themselves be a target even if they do raise the area's profile a little (at least while the exercises are being conducted).”

Armed police work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)
Armed police work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP) Peter Byrne

He said attacks like the Manchester one should not be allowed to interfere with "our lives and exercise of our rights and freedoms”.

Meanwhile, University of Queensland Associate Professor Adrian Cherney, who is also an expert in counter-terrorism, said Australians faced a very different situation to the one authorities were dealing with in Europe.

"I don't want to downplay people's concerns which are understandable given the Manchester attack...but the likelihood of of a similar attack is very low,” Assoc Prof Cherney said.

He said Central Queenslanders were in one of the "safer places” and faced bigger threats from more "traditional crime”.

Assoc Prof Cherney said Australia had a far more integrated community and didn't face the same volume of foreign fighters returning to their homeland as many European countries.

"We need to keep it in perspective,” Assoc Prof Cherney said.

Though the risk was different to Europe, Australia was at the forefront in combating terrorism with law enforcement strategies and pro-active community programs to prevent radicalisation.

The Morning Bulletin has previously reported on police initiatives to engage with the community when it comes to the fight against terrorism.

Last year, Rockhampton's senior officers attended a four-day Security and Counter-Terrorism Network training program.

The aim of the training was to provide tools for front line police based around the ideas of community engagement and social cohesion to prevent acts around terrorism.



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