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Lock them safely: Farm chemicals useful to terrorists

FARMERS must be vigilant with their chemicals, with the Federal Government warning some could be dangerous in the hands of terrorists.

Warnings by Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus have the support of the National Farmers' Federation, which is now asking its members to report any irregular behaviour.

Mr Dreyfus launched a National Code of Practice for Chemicals of Security Concern which lists 11 of the highest risk chemicals that could be used to build explosives.

"We all want to make sure that Australia remains a safe and resilient country," he said. "Good security is good for business.

"Not only does it protect valuable stock, it also keeps Australians safe."

The chemicals are often available in the dairy, food or water treatment fields, with others readily available as fertilisers.

The Australian Federal Police declined to discuss any current investigations into chemicals being used for terrorist activities.

A spokesman said terrorist groups were known to show interest in chemicals that could be used in explosives and it was a concern for the AFP.

He said charges had been previously laid on those attempting to use the ingredients for an attack.

In 2005, after several Sydney raids, nine men were arrested and charged with conspiring to plan a terrorist act.

"Part of the prosecution case alleged the defendants sourced chemicals and materials that could be used in the preparation of an explosive device."

NFF chief Matt Linnegar said this latest code was not about making life harder for farmers.

"As one of the largest users of chemicals in Australia, farmers already play a crucial role in ensuring they closely monitor the security of chemicals on their farms, including keeping them stored in dedicated, lockable storage areas," he said.

Mr Linnegar said any suspicious activity should be reported.

Farmers can phone the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.