The Hon Andrew Hastie MP
Shadow Minister for Defence
Federal Member for Canning
The Hon Karen Andrews MP
Shadow Minister for Home Affairs
Shadow Minister for Child Protection and the Prevention of Family Violence
Federal Member for McPherson
Senator James Paterson
Shadow Minister for Cyber Security
Shadow Minister for Countering Foreign Interference
Liberal Senator for Victoria
Friday 4 November 2022
Sobering cyber threat demands decisive action
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.
A sobering annual threat assessment from the Australian Cyber Security Centre has documented our deteriorating cyber environment, and recognised cyberspace as a leading domain for warfare and crime including extortion, espionage and fraud.
Particularly important are the 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.
Critical infrastructure reforms passed by the previous parliament must also be swiftly implemented.
The Albanese government should support the swift passage of the Coalition’s Ransomware Bill, which increases penalties for a range of cyber crimes, to give law enforcement – working in conjunction with our intelligence agencies – another tool to pursue cyber criminals. 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.
We also need a trusted and cooperative relationship between industry and government, because alone we will not overcome these threats. 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. That’s why the Albanese government should immediately reverse its decisions to send cyber experts to the back of the skilled immigrant queue.
In our deteriorating threat environment, the Albanese government cannot afford any more delays, confusion and uncertainty in its response to cyber threats.
The Coalition stands ready to support measures to bolster Australia’s defences to the ongoing cyber threat.