Budget's cybersecurity allocations highlight government's multi-faceted defence strategy

The government's recent launch of the national Cyber Security Strategy (CSS) left few surprises for this week's 2016-17 Budget, but clarification around where the $230m in funding will come from did highlight the relative priority of cybersecurity to the variously involved arms of the government.

Detailed Budget expense measures showed the Attorney-General's Department will carry the brunt of the expense around implementation of the CSS, with funding of $12.8m in the 2016-17 financial year increasing to $17.4m, $17.7m, and $18.3m in subsequent years.

This expenditure includes $47.3m to establish Joint Cyber Threat Centres and an online threat sharing portal; $21.5m to expand Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Australia; $10m for a cyber-security awareness campaign to replace the long-running Stay Smart Online program; $1.6m to develop national good-practice guidance around cybersecurity; $2m to expand the government's exercising program for cyber incidents; and a cost-recovery system for delivering cybersecurity 'health checks' for ASX100-listed companies.

This was well ahead of the contributions by the Australian Crime Commission ($1.7m, $4.8m, $4.4m, and $4.4m) and Australian Federal Police ($3.1m, $5.3m, $5.4m, $5.4m) – which will both use the funding the bolster their ability to fight cybercrime.

The Department of Education and training will contribute $900,000 next year, $800,000 in each of the two following yeasr, and $900,000 in 2019-20 – supporting the establishment of up to six academic centres of cybersecurity excellence. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science's (DIST's) contribution of $700,000 next year and $600,000 in 2017-18 will surge to $5.4m in 2018-19 and $8.2m in 2019-20. This expenditure will see DIST expanding the Council of Registered Security Testers (CREST) Australia.

DFAT will also spend $2.7m over four years to establish a Cyber Ambassador within its department, while Official Development Assistance will provide $4m for “cyber capacity building projects in the Indo-Pacific Region”. Despite the Budget's relatively conservative design, firm funding commitments for cybersecurity initiatives reflect the Turnbull government's prioritisation of the area and a commitment to genuine action that will, Mailguard CEO Craig McDonald says, see the CSS driving “easier conversations” between cybersecurity-related private and public sector organisations.

“What a fantastic initiative that [Turnbull] is putting forward,” McDonald told CSO Australia. “It's a fantastic opportunity for innovative companies in Australia to take a fully colaborative approach to closing the gap around cybersecurity. It is an absolute giant step from where we were before.”

CSS-related funding also includes $51.1m for the Department of Defence, which will spend $38.8m to relocate the Australian Cyber Security Centre to a “more flexible facility for public-private engagment”; $11.0m on identifying vulnerabilities in government systems; and $1.3m to conduct cyber security assessments for Commonwealth entities.

Other IT-related investments outlined in the budget include $24.8m on building a business case for veteran-centric reform and $23.9m to improve processing systems at the Department of Veterans' Affairs; $12.4m to upgrade tendering and procurement systems around the implmentation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement; $3.5m to help the Department of the Environment upgrade critical regulatory workflow systems; $39.2m to upgrade ASIC's industry-monitoring systems; The Budget also allocates an unspecified amount of money for “improved data and service supporting supercomputer capability” at the Bureau of Meteorology, which was hit by a serious cybersecurity breach late last year.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags certcyber threatsCRESTBudget expense measuresDFATCSS Insightcyber security

More about Attorney-GeneralAustralian Crime CommissionAustralian Federal PoliceBureau of MeteorologyComputer Emergency Response TeamCSODepartment of DefenceFederal PoliceMailguardSmartTPP

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Braue

Latest Videos

More videos

Blog Posts