The 20-year-old man from Werribee meant to use a firearm to "kill as many people as he could" at Melbourne's Federation Square on New Year's Eve, but did not managed to obtain the firearm, police said.
During a media conference this morning, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton alleged the young man's intentions were to cause mass carnage.
Authorities described Ali as a "high person of interest" whose activities they've been monitoring since January, BBC News reported.
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It was not linked to any other operation, added the police.
Australian officials have grown increasingly concerned over the threat of extremist attacks, raising the national terror alert level in September 2014.
The man was believed to be planning the New Year's Eve attack on his own and police are investigating how he became radicalized.
A 20-year-old from a suburb of Melbourne has appeared in court in Victoria charged with preparing to commit a terrorist attack and gathering documents to facilitate a terrorist act. One of the charges reportedly carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
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Police obtained and executed warrants on Ali's family home in Werribee, a relative's home, and his place of work after he started trying to get a gun.
The police had kept a close eye on Ali's actions between the months of March and June and found that the college student downloaded instructions from an al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula website on how to launch a terrorist attack and how to use guns.
The Melbourne Joint Counter Terrorism Team and the Victoria Police Counter Terrorism Command maintains strong links with the intelligence and other partner agencies which gives us the best possible understanding of emergency issues.
In the exclusive amateur video, obtained by A Current Affair, Special Operations Group officers can be seen arresting Ali Ali outside a cafe in Werribee yesterday afternoon.
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