2020 marks a turning point for cyber security in Australia. The Government’s landmark 2020 Cyber Security Strategy is set for implementation and today I am very proud to have been appointed chairman of an expert Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) to help bring it to life.

The IAC will play an important role in delivering the Federal Government’s digital agenda to keep Australia and Australians safe online.

The Committee brings together a wealth of experience from both the private and public sector and builds on the success of the Industry Advisory Panel (IAP) which helped shape the Strategy.

It is hard to imagine a more important piece of work. Connected technologies are now right at the heart of the lives of most Australians and increasingly pivotal in shaping our economy, our society and our prospects for the future. Our ability to fully embrace a digital future is also central to our post-COVID-19 recovery and long-term competitiveness.

But there are those who would do us harm. More abundant and better resourced cyber-criminals and cyber-activists and increasingly sophisticated and emboldened state actors mean Australia is quite literally under constant cyber-attack. In fact, cyber-crime affected almost one in three Australian adults in 2018 and cyber security incidents are estimated to cost Australian businesses up to $29 billion per year.

Meeting that challenge requires Australia’s cyber defences to be strong, adaptive and built around a strategic framework that is coordinated, integrated and capable. The 2020 Cyber Security Strategy provides that framework.

The Strategy has been shaped by 60 key recommendations provided by the IAP during its development. The recommendations, built around the five key pillars of Deterrence, Prevention, Detection, Resilience and Investment, were focussed on striking a balance between increasing cyber defences while promoting the development of a digital economy and countering threats to the economy, safety, sovereignty and national security.

Not a moment too soon

The 2020 Cyber Security Strategy is designed to have a clear and immediate impact. The Strategy – and the appointment of the IAC – means collaboration and interaction between governments and the private sector is stronger and deeper; the right organisations and people are engaged; and the tempo of engagement across the community is quickening. It means our defences are increasingly sophisticated and in-depth.

All of this is not a moment too soon. Australian businesses, families and individuals continue to be targeted by cybercriminals. Foreign actors continue their efforts to compromise our national security. And all the while as a country there is a growing need to continue to fully embrace the digital opportunities that are increasingly central to a prosperous Australia. With so much at stake it really is too important to get wrong.