Govt announces National Office for Cyber Security

The Government has announced the creation of a new Coordinator for Cyber Security role that will sit within the Department of Home Affairs under a newly established National Office for Cyber Security.

The new Office, which the Government said could be established “as soon as next month”, is set to provide “a centrally coordinated approach to deliver [on the] Government’s cybersecurity responsibilities”.

The two-pronged Coordinator role will be tasked with, firstly, leading the Government’s overarching cybersecurity strategy and providing structure to its cyber defence activities, including investments and strategic conformity across all agencies. The role will also oversee the management of cyber incidents within Government.

The announcement of the new cybersecurity Office comes after the Government yesterday hosted a Cyber Security Roundtable, led by the Prime Minister.

Input from the roundtable will go towards developing the Government’s 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy, to be overseen by Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security, Clare O’Neil the first Cabinet Minister to hold a Cyber Security portfolio.

“We discussed ideas including incentivising best practice cyber behaviours, growing Australia’s cybersecurity sector and raising national cyber awareness, to shape a new strategy. One that will give Australian businesses and families confidence, stability and security, in the face of rapidly evolving threats,” Minister O’Neil said in a joint press release with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

“We invited leaders from the public service and our intelligence agencies, and independent experts from business, industry and civil society, to share their expertise and experience.”

The Cyber Security Strategy Expert Advisory Board, appointed by Minister O’Neil, has also released a public discussion paper seeking feedback on the development of the 2023- 2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy.

The paper states that the Government is developing a cybersecurity policy and initiatives under four key areas:

  • A secure economy and thriving cyber ecosystem
  • A secure and resilient critical infrastructure and government sector
  • A sovereign and assured capability to counter cyber threats
  • Australia as a trusted and influential global cyber leader, working in partnership with our neighbours to lift cyber security and build a cyber-resilient region

“Strengthening Australia’s cybersecurity is a fundamental priority for our government because we recognise it is essential to the way every Australian lives and works and trades and learns and communicates,” the Prime Minister said.

“This is a fast-moving, rapidly evolving threat and, for too many years, Australia has been off the pace. Our Government is determined to change that.”

“For businesses these days, cybersecurity is as important and essential as the shop having a lock on the door. We need all Australian businesses to be able to protect themselves and – just as importantly – protect their customers.”

Minister O’Neil said that Australians should be prepared for more cyber incidents in the coming years.

“As a nation, we cannot sleepwalk into our cyber future. I want Australia to be the world’s most cyber-secure country by 2030. I believe that is possible, but it will take a concerted effort from industry and Government alike,” she added.

“Industry needs to put cyber security at the heart of its business decisions and practices, and Government needs to walk the talk and work with industry as genuine partners to build a nationally consistent approach.”