How the federal budget will impact the cyber security sector
Supporting women online
The Government will provide an additional $134.1 million over 4 years for the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to continue to support Australians online, including through enhanced educational, outreach and investigatory activities. This funding will ensure eSafety can continue to fulfil its statutory obligations and support women’s safety online. It also allows eSafety to continue providing webinars and workshops that complement the National Plan and help victim-survivors of technology facilitated abuse.
Small business cyber security program
The Budget provides $23.4 million to support small businesses to build resilience to cyber threats. Small and medium businesses are the target of 60 per cent of cybercrime, which is now costing Australia more than $33.0 billion in reported losses per year. The Cyber Wardens program will address this vulnerability by equipping small businesses with the foundational skills they need to improve cyber safety. This program will be delivered by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia and will support more than 15,000 small businesses.
Investing in a stronger, more productive and safer digital future
Data and digital transformation continue to present new opportunities for governments, businesses, communities, and households to change the way Australians live and work. This Budget ensures Australians are at the forefront of the digital economy while protecting them from the potential risks of the digital transformation. The Government is investing more than $2.0 billion in 2023–24 in digital and ICT to deliver easy, accessible, and secure services for people and businesses.
Consumer Data Right
The Government is continuing its investment in the Consumer Data Right (CDR) with $88.8 million to support the CDR in banking, energy and the non-bank lending sectors, progress the design of action initiation and undertake a cyber security uplift. This provides Australian consumers, both individuals and small businesses, with a more secure way to safely share data online. The CDR gives consumers an enhanced ability to control and benefit from the sharing of their data. The CDR will empower consumers to make better informed decisions and find better prices from everyday utilities to the most competitive home loans for their circumstances.
Complementary public investments
Complementary public investments can help realise the benefits of data and digital technologies. This includes ensuring accessible, secure and inclusive digital platforms through ongoing and sustainable government investments and coordination in connectivity and cyber security. Infrastructure Australia has assessed that almost half of Australia’s regions have digital infrastructure gaps, and the Government has made additional investments in the National Broadband Network and in the mobile and broadband connectivity and resilience of regional Australia.32 Enabling policy may also include programs to help businesses adopt new technologies, like artificial intelligence.
Australia’s identity system is another critical piece of national infrastructure that enables core government functions and the broader economy. Solutions like Digital ID provide a voluntary and secure means of digital verification, and the Government is supporting broader use through reforms and enabling legislation.
Underpinning many new technologies is the large-scale collection of data about people, systems and services by businesses. These datasets are a valuable input into models that maximise consumer engagement and have enabled platforms like Amazon, Netflix and Meta to appropriate a large consumer share. As these datasets become an increasingly important driver of innovation, they have become products in their own right, supporting services like advertising and market research. However, this commercialisation of data has implications for the protection of consumer rights, privacy and security, as well as regulation of competitive markets. The ethical implications of increasing uses of data, algorithms, and artificial intelligence to shape consumer choices and automate business interactions are also attracting greater scrutiny.
$3.8 million in 2023–24 to the Australian Sports Foundation to enhance the organisation’s information technology network to address emerging cyber security risks
The Government will provide $101.6 million over 5 years from 2022–23 (and $11.8 million per year ongoing) to support and uplift cyber security in Australia. Funding includes:
- $46.5 million over 4 years from 2023–24 (and $11.8 million per year ongoing) to establish the Coordinator for Cyber Security to ensure that the Commonwealth’s cyber security efforts are strategic, coordinated, timely and effective. The Coordinator will be supported by the National Office of Cyber Security and dedicated resources from within the Department of Home Affairs and other Commonwealth entities, with capacity to surge further in the event of a cyber incident
- $23.4 million over 3 years from 2023–24 to the Department of the Treasury for a small business cyber wardens program delivered by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia, to support small businesses to build in-house capability to protect against cyber threats
- $19.5 million in 2023–24 to continue work to improve the security of critical infrastructure assets and assist owners and operators to respond to significant cyber-attacks
- $12.2 million in 2023–24 to sustain cyber resilience of Commonwealth entities currently serviced by the Cyber Hubs pilot program and to continue assessment and certification of service providers used by the Commonwealth entities to host data.
The cost of this measure will be partially met from within the existing resources of the Department of Home Affairs and by redirecting funding provided to the Australian Taxation Office for Cyber Hub pilot activities.
$88.8 million will be allocated over two years from 2023–24 to support the continued operation of the Consumer Data Right in the banking, energy and non-bank lending sectors, progress the design of action initiation and uplift cyber security.
The Government recognises the critical importance of cyber security to maintain public trust in government institutions, businesses and individuals. The National Cyber Security Coordinator has been established to strengthen Australia’s cyber resilience and strategically manage cyber security activity across government, the private sector and the community. Greater coordination will ensure government is better placed to protect Australians from cyber attacks by helping affected individuals and businesses recover if major incidents occur.
Work is ongoing to combat scams and online fraud to protect Australians from financial harm. A National Anti-Scams Centre will be established to better protect Australian consumers and business by improving cooperation between government and industry to respond to increasingly sophisticated scam activity and provide consistent communication and messaging on scam protection and prevention. The Centre is a critical component of the Government’s plan to fight back against scammers on behalf of Australians.
The Government is making it safer and easier for people to verify their identity digitally, while minimising the collection of personal information. Digital ID will be a voluntary, secure and trusted way for Australians to use the government services they rely on.
The Government is also investing in the future of the Digital ID program to expand the services that can be accessed using a digital ID. This investment includes the development of legislation, appointing a regulator, continuing the accreditation of private sector digital ID providers, as well as the ongoing operation and development of myGov ID. It also includes working with the states and territories, through Data and Digital Ministers, to ensure interoperability within the Digital ID program. The expanded use of digital IDs means that in the future businesses will store less personal information, minimising the impact of any potential data breaches.