19 April 2023

Cyber strategy enters next phase after 280 submissions to discussion paper

| Chris Johnson
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Anthony Albanese and Clare O'Neil at the cyber security roundtable.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Home Affairs and Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil at the cyber security roundtable on 27 February. Photo: Clare O’Neil Facebook.

More than 280 groups, individuals and businesses have so far contributed to the development of the nation’s cyber security strategy.

Submissions to the government’s discussion paper have now closed, launching the Department of Home Affairs into a phase of scrutiny to find suggested initiatives that could prove to be valuable.

Home Affairs and Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil said she was happy with the number of responses to the discussion paper, and that the next phase of developing the strategy is now well underway.

“This discussion paper shows the extent of community support for a bold and ambitious strategy to boost our domestic cyber industry, work with industry leaders and tackle cyber threats,” Ms O’Neil said.

“The cyber threat is growing every day, as a government we are committed to increasing Australia’s national cyber resilience and capabilities in tackling these threats, on the road to becoming a world leader in cyber security by 2030.”

Most of the submissions articulated lived experiences of individuals and entities who are grappling with cyber security challenges daily.

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The strategy seeks to set out how all areas of government will work together to protect Australians from cyber threats.

In addition to submissions received on the discussion paper, the department and an expert advisory board have met with more than 100 stakeholders at over 25 roundtables, summits and other consultation events across Australia.

The expert advisory board is chaired by former Telstra CEO Andrew Penn, and includes Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld and CEO of the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre Rachael Falk.

It comes as new research reveals that a majority of Australian companies feel significantly underprepared for cyber attacks.

The latest State of Data Readiness report surveyed 376 businesses in Australia and New Zealand and found almost two-thirds of them believed they would not be able to operate more than five days after an attack that restricted access to essential data.

And only two in five companies that had fallen victim to a cyber breach say they recovered all of their lost data.

When releasing the discussion paper, the Minister emphasised that: “The case for change is clear.”

Australia has a patchwork of policies, laws and frameworks that are not keeping up with the challenges presented by the digital age, she said.

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“Voluntary measures and poorly executed plans will not get Australia where we need to be to thrive in the contested environment of 2030,” Ms O’Neil said.

“The digital age presents enormous opportunities. To achieve our vision of being the world’s most cyber secure country by 2030, we need the unified effort of government, industry and the community.

“Together, we can equip our community to reduce the number and impact of cyber incidents through improved cyber hygiene and provide clear advice on how to respond confidently when they occur.”

This cyber strategy aims to ensure: the nation has a secure economy and thriving cyber ecosystem; critical infrastructure and government systems are resilient and secure; there is a sovereign and assured capability to counter cyber threats; and Australia becomes a trusted and influential global cyber leader.

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