Hundreds of staff were evacuated on Tuesday from Canberra-based Department of Australia’s Foreign Affairs and Trade after a suspicious package was found in the canteen of the building, which is close to Parliament House.
The local police later declared that the package found at DFAT was “non-suspicious”. “We will always respond in this manner to suspicious packages no matter where they are identified or located,” it said in a tweet.
BREAKING: Package found at DFAT deemed non-suspicious. More info to come #DFATevac
— ACT Policing (@ACTPolicing) December 16, 2014
— Herald Sun (@theheraldsun) December 16, 2014
Police are investigating the package found in the staff canteen area at lunchtime. In a statement, police said it has cordoned off the area as a standard safety precaution. “Evacuations are underway at DFAT and road closures implemented. Members of the AFP (Australian Federal Police) Bomb Response Team are in attendance,” the statement said.
DFAT staff evacuated from Canberra building, a caterer tells the ABC the suspicious package was a backpack in canteen pic.twitter.com/RxdoAvFsAg
— Andrew Greene (@AndrewBGreene) December 16, 2014
Media reports said that hundreds of public servant were evacuated from the building which is close to Parliament House and police blocked traffic on state circle. A childcare centre is also attached to the building which is also closer to the Parliament building.
Some staff claimed that a backpack had been left unattended in the canteen and the building was evacuated about 10 minutes after it was noticed, reports said.