House debates

Monday, 30 November 2020

Statements by Members


1:39 pm

Photo of Tim WattsTim Watts (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications) Share this | | Hansard source

It takes an ecosystem to build a cyber-resilient nation. Our national security agencies alone aren't enough to defend Australia from cyberattacks. A healthy ecosystem relies on cross-pollination from the innovation and insights of a thriving specialist private-sector security company. As the release of today's cybersecurity competitiveness report from AustCyber highlights, this is an opportunity as well as a challenge for Australia. Australia's specialist cybersecurity companies are not only a crucial part of Australia's own cyberdefences; they can also be a world-beating, job-creating export industry if the government backs the sector. Today's AustCyber report shows a sector at a crossroads. There is an opportunity for the sector to more than double its contribution to the economy, to $7.6 billion by 2024, and add 7,000 new jobs, for a total workforce of 33,500—desperately needed jobs during an economic crisis.

But to do this the industry needs a government that will back it, and, unfortunately, there were no industry development policies or even objectives in the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy. There was no vision for the economic opportunities. The Morrison government is only interested in cybersecurity for prime ministerial national security photo ops. As former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently said:

Since I left, there isn't, at a senior level, anyone taking an interest in cybersecurity … I don't think Scott Morrison is particularly interested in it, or familiar with it.

This weekend, we saw a media drop that said the Prime Minister was planning to promote the cybersecurity portfolio into the cabinet. It will be a surprise to the home affairs minister, who currently sits there. (Time expired)