A young man has pleaded guilty to preparing for a New Year's Eve terrorist attack in central Melbourne.
During a Supreme Court of Victoria hearing on Wednesday, Ali Khalif Shire Ali, 22, pleaded guilty to one charge of preparing for a terrorist act, his lawyer Jarrod Williams confirmed.
Ali, an Australian citizen, was due to stand trial over the accusation that between March and April 2017 he prepared to commit a terrorist act at Federation Square on December 31 the same year.
He had previously pleaded not guilty in a committal hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court.
Ali had been subjected to a lengthy police investigation, with a phone tap in place from October 2016 until his arrest, the court was told at a committal hearing.
He was also subject to physical surveillance and his spending activity was tracked.
Ali has been in custody since November 2017, when police arrested him at a Werribee shopping strip.
It was alleged he attempted to buy a gun for the attack, was described as an "ISIL sympathiser" and allegedly accessed an al-Qaeda guidebook with information on how to commit a terrorist act and use firearms.
Police at the time said the human cost of the plot would have been "catastrophic ... horrendous".
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