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Proposed cybersecurity legislative reforms to strengthen Australia’s digital defences

Cyber crime, cyber attack, hacking, computer desktop

In response to the threat of cybersecurity attacks, the Australian government has proposed a series of legislative reforms aimed at bolstering the nation’s cyber defences and safeguarding its digital infrastructure. The proposed reforms, outlined in a consultation paper, present changes to the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018 (Cth) and represent a proactive step towards enhancing cybersecurity resilience in Australia.

Central to the proposed reforms is the aim to modernise Australia’s cybersecurity laws to better align with the rapidly evolving nature of cyber threats. With technology advancing, traditional legislative frameworks may no longer suffice in adequately protecting against sophisticated cyber attacks. The proposed reforms seek to amend existing cyber security laws to equip law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies with the necessary tools and powers to combat cybercrime effectively.

Moreover, the reforms prioritise enhancing cooperation and information sharing between government agencies, industry stakeholders, and international partners. The consultation paper highlights the need for public-private consultation. Recognising the interconnected nature of cyberspace, effective collaboration is essential in detecting and mitigating cyber threats in a timely manner. By fostering a collaborative ecosystem, the proposed reforms aim to create a united front against cyber threats, strengthening Australia’s cyber resilience.

Furthermore, the reforms touch on adjacent programs aimed at bolstering cybersecurity, namely the Attorney-General’s National Plan to Combat Cybercrime, the Privacy Act Review, the Australian Signals Directorate REDSPICE program, the Digital ID program, and the Digital and Tech Skills Compact. These programs will work collectively to coordinate correct legislative reform.

The Australian government is seeking public consultation on these reforms with submissions open until 1 March 2024.

For a full reading of the consultation paper, see here.

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