Govt unveils $230m cyber boost

James Riley
Editorial Director

The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will this morning unveil Australia’s long-awaited cyber security review in Sydney, the first major update to the nation’s online defence strategy since 2009.

The new package includes $230 million in new spending to bolster Australia’s cyber defence capability, including the recruitment of more than 100 new cyber specialists.

It also outlines ongoing investment in programs that will build a highly-skilled cyber security workforce, starting with the creation of academic centres of cyber excellence.

Cyber strategy: The best defence can sometimes be a very smart, highly targeted offence

Mr Turnbull will also call for greater diversity among the nation’s cyber workforce, and unveil plans for increasing the numbers of students undertaking high-calibre STEM programs in order to increase the size of the pool from which cyber experts can be drawn.

The Australian Cyber Security Strategy has been developed over 18 months of consultation with more than 190 organisations and across business, government and academia, both here and overseas.

The cyber security strategy follows the common theme that the Prime Minister has been pressing in relation to digital transformation and disruption. He will tell the audience of security specialists and business leaders at the Australian Technology Park that the strategy is as much about seizing opportunity as tackling the threat.

He will say the strategy reflects the dual challenge presented by the digital age – that of both advancing and protecting Australia’s national interest.

At its core, the national strategy is a framework for collaboration, with the government and the private sector working in partnership to set the strategic agenda for Australia and co-design initiatives within it.

It includes plans to open jointly-operated cyber threat sharing centres, and an online cyber threat sharing portal, and promises to tackle cyber threats with improved intelligence, analytic and response capabilities.

It also contains measures to support new businesses and promote the export of Australian cyber security products and services, and to better enablecyber security research and development.

Strengthened cybersecurity will boost the nation’s prosperity, Mr Turnbull will say, by making Australia a trusted place for global business.

The Prime Minister will outline Five Pillars of activity:

• A national cyber partnership between government, researchers and business including regular meetings to strengthen leadership and tackle emerging issues.
• Strong cyber defences to better detect, deter and respond to threats and anticipate risks.
• Global Responsibility and influence: Working with our international partners through our new Cyber Ambassador and other channels to champion a secure, open and free internet while building regional cyber capacity to crack down on cyber criminals and shut safe havens for cybercrime.
• Growth and Innovation: Helping Australian cyber security businesses to grow and prosper, nurturing our home-grown expertise to generate jobs and growth, and support new business models, markets and investment for all businesses that are enabled by secure products and services.
• A cyber smart nation: Creating more Australian cyber security professionals by establishing Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence in universities, fostering skills throughout the education system and raising awareness of cyber security to enable all Australians to be secure online.

Mr Turnbull says Australia will continue to play a role in the region and in global forums to champion a free, open and secure internet, and to partner internationally to shut down safe havens and prevent cybercrime and other malicious cyber activity.

Drive investment in cyber security innovation through the Cyber Security Growth Centre and innovation network that will strengthen cyber defences, grow the economy and create highly-skilled, high-value jobs.

The Australian Cyber Security Strategy has been a long time in coming. It was originally announced by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and was to have been complete by around the middle of last year. It launch date was pushed back to later in 2015, and then delayed further when Mr Turnbull became Prime Minister last September.

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