COMMUNICATIONSINDUSTRY WELCOMES AUSTRALIA’S CYBER SECURITY STRATEGY 2020

Sydney, 6 August 2020 – Communications Alliance today welcomed the release of Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 as an important step toward strengthening Australia’s cyber security and online resilience across Government, small and large businesses, and the community at large.

The long-awaited Strategy contains a raft of measures, budgeted at $1.67 billion over 10 years, which are largely aimed at improving technical capabilities within Government agencies and businesses, and growing Australia’s cyber security workforce. The Strategy’s Action Plan also places a special emphasis on a generally heightened cyber security profile of the community and increased education around cyber security issues for Australian students of all ages.

“We commend Government for the planned measures to enhance existing collaboration between critical infrastructure sectors, by improving the sharing of threat data”, said Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton.

“We will engage with stakeholders to develop a clearer understanding of the details of the Strategy, such as the definitional aspects around “systems of national significance” and “critical infrastructure entities”, Mr Stanton continued.

“Equally important is transparency around what Government intends where the strategy refers to potential “direct action” by Government to protect networks and systems in times of cyber crisis.

“Our industry is uniquely placed to understand the technical challenges and intricacies of our networks. Government needs to consult collaboratively with industry on these aspects, to ensure that the infrastructure our industry owns and operates so successfully remains actively and passively protected from cyber interference.

“It is important that any proposed new measures are built around principles-based outcomes, and are proportionate to the risks and circumstances in each sector, as outlined in the Strategy. Given the criticality of any actions taken, we must ensure that appropriate checks and balances are in place, to avoid unintended consequences.

“The new measures put forward in the Strategy point to “Enhanced Cyber Security Obligations”, new Government powers and “Government Assistance” through “directions and direct actions” in relation to (regulated) critical infrastructure entities and systems of national significance.
The Cyber Security Strategy also earmarks a total of $77 million for a Cyber Security National Workforce Growth Program and a Skills Partnership Innovation Fund, which were also welcomed by the industry association.

“We will only be able to significantly lift our game if our workforce in all sectors has the skills to effectively address the challenges that lie ahead. We have previously highlighted this issue and are pleased that it has been recognised by Government as an area of focus,” Mr Stanton said.

“The Strategy requires careful implementation and a major effort will be needed to translate the high-level Action Plan into practical, efficient and effective measures.

“We are keen to work closely with Government and other relevant stakeholders to understand what this Strategy means for a mature industry such as telecommunications, which is relatively advanced in the protection of its critical infrastructure and the regulation associated with this,” Mr Stanton concluded.


ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body  in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the  communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet  service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.

Its vision is to  provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead  it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and  services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of  consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about  Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.

Media information contact:
Sefiani
Kurt Graham kgraham@sefiani.com.au
0431 478 558