Penn to lead new 2020 cyber advisory


Denham Sadler
Senior Reporter

The federal government’s panel of experts appointed to guide the development of the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy met for the first time in Canberra on Monday morning.

The advisory group will work with the ministers and public servants to oversee the development and implementation of the new strategy.

The group is chaired by Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn, with members including Vocus Group chair Robert Mansfield, Tesla chair and former Telstra chief operating officer Robyn Denholm, Northrop Grumman Australia chief executive Chris Deeble and NBN chief security officer Darren Kane.

In its first meeting, the group discussed the outcomes of the initial consultations on the strategy, including the more than 200 submissions the government received.

“Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility and it’s critical that government, industry and the entire community work together to find new ways to address the cybersecurity threats we all face,” Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton said.

“The panel has a depth of practical experience protecting families, businesses and governments from constantly evolving cyber threats and will ensure I am provided high calibre advice on the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy.”

Mr Penn said that building a secure cyber foundation is a shared responsibility for governments, the private sector and the community.

“Telstra has a long history of working alongside the Australian government on both operational security and cyber policy issues,” Mr Penn said.

“Given our place in Australia’s telecommunications past, present and future, we recognise that our role does not stop at our own networks; we know we have an important role to play in supporting our nation to be cyber resilient.”

Australia’s first ever national cyber security strategy was unveiled in 2016 by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and updated the following year. The original plan was for the strategy to be iterated annually, but the Department of Home Affairs instead opted for a significant revamp, to be released next year.

Home Affairs has been consulting widely on the new strategy after releasing a discussion paper in September.

The paper gave an overview of a dramatically changed cyber environment from 2016, and flagged significantly different roles for government and the private sector. The government is pushing for greater public-private collaboration on critical infrastructure, and for more centralised architecture for cyber protection.

It is also mulling shifting cyber risk away from end-users and into businesses and industry.

While the government’s “first priority” is keeping the trust and confidence of the Australian people, it also sought input on whether its role could be expanded to better meet current and future cybersecurity threats.

Submissions on the discussion paper were publicly released by the department late last week.

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