NSW Govt inks $11.5M cybersecurity agreement with CSIRO

The NSW Government has announced an $11.4 million agreement with Data61, a technology research and development arm of the CSIRO, to fund a number of technology initiatives for the state, with a key focus on cybersecurity.

The three-year agreement, jointly funded by the Department of Industry and the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation, will provide a direct channel between the NSW Government and Data61’s development team to manage cybersecurity threats against the state.

NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Victor Dominello, said cybersecurity would be an initial focus of the collaboration with Data61.

“Cybersecurity has emerged as one of the most high profile, borderless and rapidly evolving risks facing governments across the globe, so it is essential we are at the forefront of new ideas and thinking,” Mr Dominello said.

“This agreement gives NSW access to world leading data science that will strengthen our cybersecurity network and ensure our agencies are at the cutting edge of this evolving challenge.”

Minister for Trade and Industry, Niall Blair, said the agreement will also provide a leg up to the development of NSWs' cybersecurity industry, tapping into what is expected to be a $170 billion cyber protection market by 2020.

“NSW is at the forefront of the start-up sector in the southern hemisphere and home to thriving fintech and defence industries. It makes sense to capitalise on cybersecurity and its multi-billion dollar industry,” Mr Blair said.

"[This] investment will go a long way to ensuring NSW is a world leader in cybersecurity which will produce many job opportunities.”

As part of the initial phase of the NSW collaboration, Data61 is currently trialling artificial intelligence technologies to identify existing and emerging cybersecurity threats in real-time, as well as a blockchain initiative to share cybersecurity information across agencies.

Data61 has a principal role in the Federal Government’s Cyber Security Strategy, which is tasked with nurturing growth in Australia’s cybersecurity sector. According to a release in June by the CSIRO, Data61 is involved in more than 70 cybersecurity research initiatives active across Australian universities, research institutions and government sectors. This includes the development of a nationally recognised cybersecurity curriculum and the Platforms for Open Data (PfOD) initiative to ensure privacy and integrity when sharing data.