Western Australian Government to improve public sector cybersecurity

According to a recent press release, the Government of Western Australia announced that a new Office of Digital Government will be created to improve cybersecurity and drive digital capability.

Innovation and ICT Minister Dave Kelly stated that creating this office within DPC ensures that digital capabilities are embedded within the McGowan Government's public sector renewal program and are better co-ordinated and implemented.

To be launched on 1 July, the Office of Digital Government under Department of the Premier and Cabinet will drive the public sector's digital capabilities, with a focus on improving government cybersecurity practices to keep Western Australians' information safe. The Office will also have a dedicated cybersecurity team to develop whole-of-government cybersecurity initiatives

According to Auditor General's 2017 Information Systems Audit report, information security and business continuity have shown no improvement in the last nine years, and that only seven out of the 46 agencies audited met expectations for managing their computer environments effectively.

The McGowan Government is implementing the recommendations of the Service Priority Review, which found that the Government needs to strengthen cybersecurity, ICT performance and data sharing, and increase online service delivery.

The Service Priority Review examines the function, operations and culture of WA's public sector. Digital transformation for improving transactional service design and delivery by harnessing technology is one of the areas the report looked at. The interim report noted that there are pockets of innovation in online service delivery but, in general, online service delivery across the public sector is inconsistent and fragmented. The final report was presented to the State Government in 2017.

To improve cybersecurity and drive digital capability, the McGowan Government is allocating A$7.4 million in funding for the new Office of Digital Government and more than A$500,000 for the new cybersecurity team to develop whole-of-government cybersecurity initiatives.

The establishment of a Cyber Security Reference Group, comprising of representatives from nine public sector agencies, will support development of a whole-of-government approach to cybersecurity.

At the same time, the Government will partner Edith Cowan University, to collaborate on projects that improve the security of the Western Australia public sector. 

"These initiatives build on action already taken since March 2017, including a revised whole-of-government Digital Security Policy; cybersecurity briefings for directors general and CEOs; and a $5.6 million investment in the national Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre, headquartered at ECU Joondalup," Minister Kelly added.

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