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Victoria investing A$17.6 million to deliver state’s Cyber Security Strategy

The state government of Victoria in Australia has allocated A$17.6 million in 2018/19 budget to help deliver the state’s first ever Cyber Security Strategy. This strategy will help protect the privacy of Victorians, while safeguarding government networks and agencies from hacking threats.

The Victorian press release notes that Government networks across the world are regularly targeted by cyber-attacks. There is an increasing shift from unsophisticated lone hackers towards organised criminals, political ‘hacktivists’ and foreign governments using cyber space to infiltrate, steal from and disrupt government services.

In the past, individual government agencies set their own security measures. This funding intends to ensure that the Victorian Government has the strong cyber security capabilities required to protect the delivery of public services through a whole-of-government approach.

In August 2017, the state released the Cyber Security Strategy, building on the principles of being collaborative, enabling, proven, scalable, proportional and sustainable. The strategy has 23 points and is organised under five priorities of engagement, planning, partnering, service maturity and capability.

In October, the Government appointed Mr John O’Driscoll as its first Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). The appointment of a CISO was a key component of the strategy.

The CISO oversees the state’s response to ongoing cyber threats, and the development of governance arrangements that allow Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) to act in the case of cyber emergencies. EMV has the lead role in maintaining and coordinating whole-of-government strategy and policy for critical infrastructure resilience in the state.

As part of the strategy, the state government will also strengthen partnerships across all levels of Government and the private sector to share best practice, intelligence and insights, rationalise and better co-ordinate the procurement of proven cyber security services and develop a workforce plan to attract, develop and retain skilled cyber security public sector workers.

According to the press release, the funding boost will also assist in attracting, developing and retaining skilled cyber security public sector workers, as Victoria builds upon its position as a world-leader in tackling cyber-threats. The state is home to  CSIRO’s Data61 Cybersecurity Innovation Hub, the Oceania Cyber Security Centre, a collaboration with Oxford University’s Global Cyber Security Capability Centre, and a Melbourne-based node of the Commonwealth Government’s Cyber Growth Centre in Victoria.

The Budget also includes A$2.6 million to assist the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner to better support government in protecting the privacy of Victorians.

Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings said, “We’re getting on with delivering Victoria’s first ever Cyber Security Strategy so we can stay ahead of cyber criminals and protect Victorians’ personal information. This boost will also build upon our state’s position as the tech capital of Australia and a world-leader in tackling cyber threats.”

“Cyber security is crucial to our state – not only does it help us protect local businesses from cybercrime, but it’s a growing industry that is becoming a big part of our economy,” said Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy Philip Dalidakis. 

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