Turnbull launches government's cyber security strategy

33 cyber security initiatives worth $231.1 million

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull this morning officially launched the federal government’s national cyber security strategy.

The strategy is “a roadmap as to how we will keep Australia safe and competitive in an increasingly digital world,” the prime minister said.

“Our cyber security strategy answers the call for national leadership and it understands that Australia's economic security is always placed at risk without strong national security.”

The strategy includes 33 cyber security initiatives worth $231.1 million, including funding for 100 new specialist jobs, the PM said.

It includes moves to streamline responsibility within the government for cyber security strategy, in both policy and operational areas. The government will appoint a Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security.

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet will take the lead role in overseeing the strategy, with a new position within the department — the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on Cyber Security — to be created.

Children's eSafety Commissioner, Alastair MacGibbon, will be appointed to the role, Turnbull said.

A major focus of the strategy is boosting collaboration between the public and private sectors in an effort to shore up Australia’s cyber security defences.

“Joint cyber threat centres” will enable the government, private sector and researchers to exchange sensitive data.

Government and business leaders will “co-design” national cyber security initiatives, including the prime minister hosting annual meetings with business leaders on the issue.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre will relocate to enable “a more integrated partnership between the Government and its operational stakeholders, including businesses, the research and academic community and foreign partners collaborating with the ACSC,” the document states.

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) will continue to lead the ACSC.

The government will appoint a “cyber ambassador” that will advocate for an “open, free and secure Internet” and help bolster cyber security coordination with other countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

As part of the strategy the government will fund research into the cost of cyber crime to the Australian economy.

Boosting ‘cyber defences’

In addition to the ACSC, the strategy includes funding for the ASD, CERT Australia, the Australian Crime Commission, and the Australian Federal Police.

The government will also examine how to help bolster the cyber security skills of state and territory police forces.

In addition there will be efforts to help the private sector increase its defences, including through sustained national cyber security awareness raising via CERT Australia and developing voluntary guidelines on good cyber security practice, as well as support for some 5000 small businesses to have their security tested.

The strategy also addresses the shortage of IT security skills within Australia.

“The Government, together with the academic and research community and businesses, will co-design a model and then establish academic centres of cyber security excellence in universities to ensure graduates have the right skills and expertise,” the strategy states.

“The centres of excellence will link with others around the world and also link with other initiatives in this Strategy such as the joint cyber threat sharing centres and the Cyber Security Growth Centre.

“Australian governments, businesses and the research community will also work together to fix the cyber security skills pipeline to ensure more children at school study relevant subjects and to enable people at all stages of their careers to develop cyber security skills.”


The strategy identifies a focus on cyber security as a potential boon for Australia’s economy.

“To take advantage of the growing global market for cyber security services, the Government will also support Australia’s cyber security sector to expand and promote their capabilities to the global market,” the document states.

“Domestically, strong cyber security services will encourage trust and confidence in Australian businesses operating online.”

One initiative in this area is the previously announced Cyber Security Growth Centre, which is being funded as part of the government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

Data61 CEO Adrian Turner and Doug Elix will be the inaugural co-chairs of the centre, Turnbull said.

The centre will have a series of “nodes” across Australia, the PM said. The NSW node will be based at Australian Technology Park in Sydney and the Victorian one at Goods Shed.

Further nodes will be located in other states and territories, Turnbull, said.

Also delivered through the NISA is funding for the cyber security innovation work of the CSIRO’s Data61.

The full strategy document is available from the website of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

By the numbers

Initiative Funding (over four years)
Lead government agency
New facility for the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) to enable its growth and partnerships with the private sector $38.8 million Defence Portfolio
(Australian Signals Directorate – part of the ACSC)
Joint cyber threat sharing centres and online threat sharing portal $47.3 million Attorney‐General’s Portfolio
(CERT Australia – part of the ACSC)
National voluntary good practice guidance for cyber security $1.6 million Attorney‐General’s Portfolio
(CERT Australia – part of the ACSC)
Small business grants for improved cyber security $15 million Industry, Innovation and Science Portfolio
(Department of Industry, Innovation and Science)
Increase the Government’s Computer Emergency Response Team’s (CERT Australia) capability and capacity $21.5 million Attorney‐General’s Portfolio
(CERT Australia – part of the ACSC)
Expand the Government’s exercising programme to include non‐Government partners $2 million Attorney‐General’s Portfolio
(CERT Australia – part of the ACSC)
Increase the Government’s cybercrime intelligence and analysis capability and capacity $16 million Attorney‐General’s Portfolio
(Australian Crime Commission – part of the ACSC)
Increase the Government’s cybercrime investigation and response capability and capacity $20.4 million Attorney‐General’s Portfolio
(Australian Federal Police – part of the ACSC)
Rolling program of cyber security assessments for Australian government agencies $1.3 million Defence Portfolio
(Australian Signals Directorate – part of the ACSC)
Increase the government’s capacity to identify vulnerabilities in Australian government systems $11 million Defence Portfolio
(Australian Signals Directorate – part of the ACSC)
Strengthen Australia’s advocacy for an open, free and secure internet and increase Australia’s cyber security
capacity building efforts in particular in the Indo‐Pacific region
$6.7 million Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio
(Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
Establish a national cyber security innovation network through an industry‐led Cyber Security Growth Centre $30.5 million (funded through the NISA)
Industry, Innovation and Science Portfolio
(Department of Industry, Innovation and Science)
Enhance Data61’s cyber security programme and contribute to other relevant Strategy initiatives $7.5 million (funded through the NISA)
Establish academic centres of cyber security excellence and programs to increase numbers of cyber security
professionals in Australia
$3.5 million Education and Training Portfolio
(Department of Education and Training)
Deliver sustained national cyber security awareness raising $10 million Attorney‐General’s Portfolio
(CERT Australia – part of the ACSC)

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