Broken down: Australia's $1.67B cyber strategy

Broken down: Australia's $1.67B cyber strategy

An extra $300 million on top of $1.35 billion CESAR pot will cover countering criminal activity, cyber skills and SMEs

Scott Morrison (Australian Prime Minister)

Scott Morrison (Australian Prime Minister)

Credit: Dreamstime

The Federal Government has laid bare in its 2020 Cyber Security Strategy how it plans to spend $1.67 billion over the next 10 years.

Almost half of this will be pumped into bolstering the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) by investing $469.7 million into the recruitment of 500 additional cyber security specialists.

Another $385.4 million will be spent on investing in “enabling and enhancing” the agency’s capabilities, and $118 million of the investment pot will fund data science

Taken partly from the government’s recent cyber enhanced situational awareness and response (CESAR) fund, which comes with a $1.35 billion budget, the package aims to strengthen Australia’s cyber defences across government, private companies and households following a rise in attacks.

Announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the full package will see $62.3 million spent on a "classified national situational awareness capability" to help ASD respond to threats.

Meanwhile, also part of the CESAR funding, $66.5 million will go to assisting Australia’s critical infrastructure providers to “assess vulnerabilities to enhance their cyber security posture”. 

An additional $20.2 million will go to research laboratories, which the document claims will help “understand threats to technologies that underpin Australia’s critical infrastructure”.

Outside the CESAR package, $164 million will be  invested into countering cyber crime and law enforcement capabilities, including $89.9 million given to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) handed.

Around $40 million will be used to establish a countering foreign cyber criminals capability within the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).

In another tranche, $90 million will be invested in developing Australia’s skills and talent pool in cyber security, more half coming from the $50-million Cyber Security National Workforce Growth Program.

According to the 52-page report, “this will encourage businesses and academia to partner together to find new cyber skills, for example through apprenticeships, scholarships, professional training”. 

AustCyber forecasts that almost 17,000 new jobs will be needed by 2026; this tranche will give $26.5 million to a Cyber Skills Partnerships Innovation Fund.

Also included will be $63.4 million to assist small-to-medium sized enterprises protect themselves and respond to cyber threats.

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