Cybersecurity and the Australian Federal Budget 2021

I looked for the cybersecurity line items in the budget so you don’t have to

Initial thoughts

This budget continues the historical trend of spending a significant amount on national security, which includes cybersecurity, but having most of the money directed towards the government’s own departments.

We cannot be cyber resilient as a nation without a stronger ecosystem, which includes businesses of all sizes, as well as a healthy amount of sovereign capability in the form of technology and solution providers.

It is time that the government recognises that we are stronger when the ecosystem is properly supported and allocates more funding and support outside of its own departments.

Spend

Here is a breakdown of the cybersecurity-related items in the budget:

  • $1.3 billion over ten years to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to further boost its ability to protect Australia and Australians from threats to our security.
  • $51.8 million is being provided to support the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s critical role in combatting transnational, serious and organised crime.
  • $42.4 million over two years from 2021–22 to improve security arrangements for critical infrastructure assets, including those designated as Systems of National Significance, in accordance with the Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill 2020 (currently before the Parliament) and to assist critical infrastructure owners and operators to respond to significant cyber-attacks.
  • $43.8 million over three years from 2021–22 to expand the Cyber Security Skills Partnership Innovation Fund. The Fund invests in projects to improve the quality and quantity of cyber security professionals in Australia and the additional funding will be provided to further secure and build capability across national priority sectors identified in the Modern Manufacturing Strategy.
  • $18.8 million in 2021–22 to pilot centralised delivery of cyber capabilities and services for government agencies through Whole-of-Government cyber hubs with costs to be partially met from with the existing resources of the Department of Defence, Australian Signals Directorate and Services Australia.
  • $61.5 million over four years from 2021–22 to enable the Australian National Audit Office to address rising costs due to more complex financial data and records management arrangements, new audit controls relating to COVID-19 measures, and the need to enhance IT cyber security migration.
  • $31.7 million to ensure the security of future mobile networks that citizens and businesses depend on for communication and commerce, including 5G and 6G networks. Security will be built into the networks upfront.
  • $22.6 million for the Next Generation Emerging Technologies Graduates Program, established to provide 234 scholarships in emerging technology areas such as robotics, automation, cybersecurity, quantum, blockchain and big data.
  • $26.2 million to create a safe space online for women and children.
  • $111.3 million over two years from 2021–22 (including $35.0 million in capital funding) to continue implementation of the Consumer Data Right in the banking sector and to accelerate its rollout to other parts of the economy including the energy and telecommunications sectors.

Ian Yip is the CEO of Avertro, a venture-backed cybersecurity software company. Avertro CyberHQ is a Cyber Management Decision System that helps leaders manage the business of cyber using defensible insights to determine what is essential.

Cyber Risk. Cybersecurity. Business. Tech. Entrepreneur. CEO at Avertro. Former CTO at McAfee Asia Pacific.