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Coalition MPs have urged the Albanese government to take further action in future-proofing Australia’s cyber capabilities in a new joint statement.
The document, titled “Sobering cyber threat demands decisive action”, is a joint statement by shadow minister for defence Andrew Hastie, shadow minister for home affairs Karen Andrews, and shadow minister for cyber security and countering foreign interference James Paterson.
The statement makes suggestions as to how the federal government should move forward in ensuring Australia’s safety from cyber threats.
“The Albanese government should guarantee future funding for offensive and defensive cyber capabilities, expedite the passage of new ransomware laws and work constructively with industry to harden Australia from the escalating cyber threat,” it states.
Referring to the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) annual threat assessment, the statement recognises that cyber crime is a growing issue, and one that is becoming more prevalent as the world increasingly depends on cyber space.
It also identifies the potential for cyber warfare, identifying the concern of “escalating threats posed by state actors, including their increasing appetite for classified and sensitive information, and their willingness to target critical infrastructure to harm us.
“To meet these challenges, it is critical that Project REDSPICE is delivered in full. Funded in the March Budget, REDSPICE is the single most significant investment to transform the Australian Signals Directorate’s offensive and defensive capabilities.”
Project REDSPICE (Resilience, Effects, Defence, Space, Intelligence, Cyber, Enablers) is an initiative that hopes to expand the range and sophistication of government intelligence, offensive and defensive cyber capabilities and build on its already strong enabling foundations.
On top of REDSPICE, the document suggests that the government support the liberal party’s Ransomware Bill, which will raise the fines from cyber crimes.
“Labor’s absence on ransomware legislation is harming Australians by the day, particularly when an alternative bill has now been presented and Labor’s only response to this issue is a taskforce.”
The statement is also pushing for greater communication and support between government and businesses, suggesting that intelligence should be shared between the two.
“Government must support business with even greater threat intelligence sharing. A major cyber challenge facing Australian businesses and industry is the lack of qualified experts and skilled workers,” it said.
“That’s why the Albanese government should immediately reverse its decisions to send cyber experts to the back of the skilled immigrant queue.”
This statement comes off the back of the Albanese government announcing a number of changes to bolster the cyber security capabilities of Australia.
The government recently appointed a new minister for Cyber Security — Victorian MP Clare O’Neil. Furthermore, following the Optus and Medibank data breaches, the government has vowed to crack down on companies who fail to properly protect customer data.
The bill will up the current penalty for repeated or serious cases from $2.22 million to either $50 million, 30 per cent of the company’s turnover for the period or three times the value of finances gained as a result of the stolen data.
The full coalition statement can be found here.
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