Attorney-General Speech – Launch of Joint Cyber Security Centre Brisbane


Senator the hon george

24 FEBRUARY 2017

Well thank you very much indeed Katherine and can I begin by acknowledging a number of colleagues and senior officials who join us here this morning.

I particularly acknowledge and welcome to Brisbane my friend and colleague, Dan Tehan, who is the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Cyber Security. Can I acknowledge the Secretary of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department Mr Chris Moraitis PSM. Alastair MacGibbon, the Prime Minister’s special adviser on Cyber. Andrew Mills, the Queensland Government’s Chief Information Officer, and may I make particular mention of the many industry partners who join us for this event here this morning.

It’s a great pleasure for me to by in my home city of Brisbane to launch the first of the Turnbull Government’s Joint Cyber Security Centres here in the Brisbane CBD. Today also marks the official opening of the new Brisbane CERT Office.

Cyber security as you all know is both a key to national security and a priority for the Australian Government. It is also an important challenge for business. With the incidence of malicious cyber activity continuing to rise, it is more important than ever that government and business work together to improve the capability and to better coordinate our cyber security.

Strong cyber security is not only critical to our national security, it is also essential to Australia’s economic growth and prosperity. Strong cyber security across government and industry will ensure that Australia continues to be regarded as a trusted place to do business. We need to foster best practice and better defend Australian businesses against cybercrime – which it has been estimated costs the economy more than $1 billion every year.

Globally, the annual cost of cybercrime is estimated to be around one per cent of global GDP, which means that the real impact of cybercrime on Australia could be as high as $17 billion per year.

Through the work of this Centre, and others like it, the Turnbull Government’s Joint Cyber Security Centre program will be rolled out so as to enhance Australia’s cyber security by enabling participants to work together to develop a shared understanding of the cyber threat environment – and to formulate coordinated responses. It will also provide a trusted environment within which participants can share threat information and meet our cyber challenges.

Late last year we began the Joint Cyber Security Centre program co-design process.

CERT Australia has worked closely with key stakeholders, both in government and in the corporate sector, to design the program from the ground up. Throughout this process, industry has played a critical role in shaping the Centre’s activities, its strategic objectives, and its operations, and industry will help define its overall governance framework. This is a fine example of public and private sector collaboration. One of the main outcomes of this consultation was the message that industry would benefit from more of the Government’s insight into the latest cyber threats. When it comes to ransomware, for example, cyber criminals often target very vulnerable organisations, such as medical clinics. Sadly, many organisations end up paying for decryption keys, fearing that they will lose their critical data if they don’t. Sharing threat information between government and industry on the latest cyber security trends will improve our national understanding of how ransomware is being deployed, and how we can help defend other organisations from falling victim to these attacks.

Through our consultation we also learned that there is a strong appetite among businesses across the country to work with CERT and learn how the use of specialist operational tools – such as automatic information sharing technology – can better equip business with the latest cyber threat information. That is exactly what the Joint Cyber Security Centres will deliver – and why they are such an important resource for both government and industry.

The extent to which government and industry can exchange cyber security capability and knowledge in this trusted environment will define the success of these Centres.

It is our hope that JCSC Partners will actively collaborate through a program of activities, pilot joint initiatives and will work together on cyber security challenges. Participants will also have access to cyber security tools and resources co-developed as a result of this program. In the short term, Partners in the Brisbane pilot will help to establish a government-industry board to oversee the activities of the Centre. The type of activities will be broad ranging from data analytics to threat mapping. Partners will also develop a portal to enable real-time information sharing. Building on the first centre launched here today in Brisbane, the Government will progressively roll out additional Centres in other capital cities.

The Joint Cyber Security Centre is an extension and maturation of the Government’s existing partnerships with industry. It also builds on the collaboration among Government agencies and private sector partners established through the Australian Cyber Security Centre in Canberra. I’m pleased to welcome to the Brisbane Centre a number of its Foundation Partners represented here this morning including the Commonwealth Bank, Telstra and Rio Tinto, as well as key Queensland Government agencies. I’m equally pleased to announce that from my portfolio, CERT Australia, the Australian Federal Police, and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission will be permanent participants in the Brisbane Centre. These ACSC partner agencies will have staff based here on a full-time basis and will provide significant cyber security and law enforcement expertise to our industry partners and colleagues. These participants are well-represented in the Brisbane Centre and include representatives from as I’ve said across a wide range of sectors. Significantly, owners and operators of critical infrastructure will also be closely involved.

The planned roll-out of our Joint Cyber Security Centres, recently announced Critical Infrastructure Centre and complementary legislative initiatives such as the Telecommunications Sector Security Reforms are key components of the Turnbull Government’s commitment to close and effective working partnerships between all levels of government and industry to ensure the security and importance of our national infrastructure for the benefit of our economy.

I want to thank, once again, all of our Partners for participating in this program.

As I said before, the success of the Centre will be measured by the willingness of government and industry to exchange and collaborate on the important challenges that this and other centres face.

It is with great anticipation that we look forward to seeing the results of that collaboration through this JCSC pilot, which we hope will become a model for industry-government cooperation across Australia.

Thank you.