18/08/2017 7:23 AM AEST | Updated 18/08/2017 9:48 AM AEST

Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten Condemn Barcelona Terror Attack

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he is determined to "defeat terrorism".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have both condemned the deadly Barcelona terror attack in which a white van was rammed into pedestrians at one of the Spanish city's major tourist hubs.

More than a dozen have been killed and more than 100 injured in the attack which took place in the area of Las Ramblas, a historic street leading to one of the Barcelona's central plazas.

"We stand in absolute resolute solidarity with the people of Spain in the fight against Islamist terrorism," Turnbull said in a morning press conference with security and counter-terror officials, Turnbull

"This is a global battle against terrorism."

Turnbull moved to reassure Australians that federal and state officials had been working to protect citizens from such attacks in crowded meeting places.

"Following the truck attack in Nice last year, I asked... Commonwealth counterterrorism coordinator, Greg Moriarty, to work on protecting crowded places in Australia," the PM said.

"That work has been completed now, and it will be released shortly. It's the product of very careful work with state and territory police, agencies, with local Government, with the private sector, with the owners of venues and crowded places, shopping centres, sporting arenas and so forth."

"Every time there is an incident, whether it is abroad or at home, we learn from it and we continue to refine and advance and improve our ability to keep Australians safe. Our agencies are the best in the world. There are no guarantees, of course, but our agencies are the best in the world."

Citing the news as "devastating", Shorten tweeted that Australia "hold the people of Spain in our heart today".

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "sickened by the senseless loss of life" in the attack and that the Foreign Office was working to establish if any British nationals were involved in the "appalling incident".

"Following the attacks in Manchester and London, Spain stood alongside the British people. Tonight, Britain stands with Spain against the evil of terrorism," she said.