Cybersecurity

Budget Review 2016–17 Index

Nicole Brangwin

Following the Australian Government’s long-awaited release of Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy (the Strategy), the Budget outlines the funding details for the cybersecurity initiatives identified in the Strategy.[1] Some of the initiatives featured in the Budget are new (for example, the establishment of centres of cybersecurity excellence) while others are pre-existing (the expansion of Australia’s Computer Emergency Response Team—CERT), or rebadged (cybersecurity awareness campaign).[2]

The Strategy’s funding of $230 million covers the next four years.[3] This is in addition to the $300–400 million, over the next ten years, which was recently announced in the 2016 Defence White Paper to improve Defence’s cybersecurity capabilities.[4]

The funding allocations for the Strategy’s five main themes announced by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on 1 May 2016 are:[5]

  • $38.8 million for the ‘national cyber partnership’, which includes:
    • annual Prime Ministerial meetings with industry stakeholders, and ‘streamlining’ of government structures led by a new Minister assisting the Prime Minister on cybersecurity and a special advisor and[6]
    • relocation of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) to ‘a new more accessible location in Canberra that will make it easier for stakeholders to engage with’ (Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2016–17 suggests that the entire $38.8 million is to fund the relocation).[7]
  • $136.1 million for improving cyber defences, which includes:
    • $15 million to allow small businesses to access cybersecurity testing
    • support for voluntary business cybersecurity governance health checks and
    • the development of a best practice guide on good cybersecurity.[8]
  • $6.7 million for ‘global responsibility and influence’, including:
    • the establishment of Australia’s new Cyber Ambassador and
    • capacity building with international partners towards greater cyber resilience.[9]
  • $38 million for ‘growth and innovation’, which is funded through the National Innovation and Science Agenda (the Agenda) and includes:
    • the establishment of a Cyber Security Growth Centre that was announced in December 2015 as part of the Agenda and[10]
    • continuing research under the CSIRO’s Data61 group towards commercialised solutions and education activities.[11]
  • $10 million towards the ‘cyber smart nation’ initiative, which aims to:
    • address the cybersecurity skills shortage by encouraging a greater uptake of study in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths
    • establish Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence at key education institutions and
    • raise public awareness on cybersecurity issues.[12]

The implementation of Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy appears as a line item in a number of portfolio areas. In the Defence Portfolio Budget Statement 2016–17, a reduction in Defence’s appropriation allows the transfer of $122.2 million over four years to other portfolios.[13] This amounts to more than half of the Government’s stated $230 million funding for the Strategy.

Defence is also expected to absorb $51.1 million which comprises the cost of: relocating the ACSC; conducting ‘cyber security assessments for Commonwealth entities’; and identifying ‘cyber vulnerabilities in the Commonwealth systems’.[14] Defence resources will also be used to fund other initiatives to ‘complement’ the 2016 Defence White Paper and implement the Strategy, including:

  • $82.3 million over the forward estimates to the Attorney-General’s Department for a number of new and existing (or expanded) activities, such as the establishment of Joint Cyber Threat Centres[15]
  • $20.4 million to the Australian Federal Police and $16 million to the Australian Crime Commission to increase their cybercrime capabilities and[16]
  • $3.5 million to the Department of Education and Training to establish ‘six academic centres of cyber security excellence’.[17]

The Industry, Innovation and Science Portfolio Budget Statement 2016–17 allocates $12 million over the next four years towards the Strategy’s implementation.[18]

There is no new cybersecurity funding for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Communications and the Arts, or the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)—for example, the cost of creating the Cyber Ambassador role will be absorbed by DFAT’s existing budget.[19] However, a number of cybersecurity related expense measures were announced in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook that included:

  • $74.6 million over three years, from 2016–17, to fund the CSIRO’s Data61 group which comprises:
    • ‘Platforms for Open Data’ using whole-of-government geospatial data and national mapping platforms for governments and business to access unconnected and unlockable sources of data
    • Australian industry cybersecurity protection business applications and ‘advanced learning program’
    • ‘Digital Innovation Marketplace’ as an expertise-sharing program involving ‘businesses and other organisations’ and
    • ‘Data Skilling Industry’ to fast-track ‘data analytics educational’ programs within Australian industry.[20]
  • $1.5 million for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.[21]


[1].          The Strategy followed an 18-month review into Australia’s cybersecurity. M Turnbull (Prime Minister), Australia’s cyber security strategy, media release, 21 April 2016; Australian Government, Australia’s cyber security strategy: enabling innovation, growth & prosperity, 21 April 2016.

[2].          Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2016–17, 2016, p. 134.

[3].          Ibid., p. 3.

[4].          Australian Government, 2016 Defence white paper, white paper, 25 February 2016; Australian Government, 2016 integrated investment program, p. 37.

[5].          L Connick (First Assistant Secretary of Cyber Policy and Intelligence), Digital growth drives digital risk… and opportunity, speech, 1 May 2016.

[6].          These measures are likely to be absorbed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

[7].          L Connick, op. cit.; Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2016–17, op. cit., pp. 134–135.

[8].          Ibid.

[9].          Ibid.

[10].       Australian Government, ‘Cyber Security Growth Centre’, Business.gov.au website.

[11].       L Connick, op. cit.

[12].       Ibid.

[14].       Ibid.; Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2016–17, op. cit., p. 134.

[15].       Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 2016–17: budget related paper no. 1.2: Attorney-General’s Portfolio, pp. 14–15; Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2016–17, op. cit., p. 134.

[16].       Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 2016–17: budget related paper no. 1.2: Attorney-General’s Portfolio, op. cit., pp. 76 and 93; Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2016–17, op. cit., p. 134.

[19].       Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2016–17, op. cit., p. 134.

[20].       Australian Government, Mid-year economic and fiscal outlook 2015–16, website.

[21].       Ibid.

 

All online articles accessed May 2016. 

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