Australia actively promotes an open, free and secure cyberspace.

The Prime Minister and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister have led international collaboration on cyber security. The Ambassador for Cyber Affairs has hit the ground running. Engagement throughout the region has grown and an international engagement strategy will sharpen our focus. Creative partnering arrangements with the private sector will increase our efficiency and broaden our reach.

Delivering the Strategy

  • Dr Tobias Feakin was appointed Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and has already become an influential voice on the world stage. Signalling the Government’s priorities, his initial visits included Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • Following a public consultation process, Australia’s first international cyber engagement strategy is on-track for release in 2017. By identifying priorities for engagement and communicating goals to the Australian community our engagement and capacity building efforts will be better coordinated and hence more efficient and effective.
  • Australia has continued its advocacy for an open and free Internet, including through its position on the United Nations Group of Government Experts, ASEAN Regional Forum, International Telecommunication Union, Freedom Online Coalition, G20, and direct bilateral engagement.
  • Partnering with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Australia supported a cybercrime training program in Bangkok in October 2016. Cyber workshops and training programs have been held with other nations, such as Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and Indonesia.
  • The Australian Federal Police has also delivered a variety of cyber training through its extensive liaison officer network to upskill Australia’s law enforcement partners. This work has been accompanied by the establishment of dedicated Australian Federal Police Cybercrime Liaison Officers and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission cybercrime analysts in Washington DC and London.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade launched first-round funding of public-private cyber capacity building projects under its Cyber Capacity Program.

Building on the Strategy

Together with business leaders, the Government held the first joint public-private sector Australia and United States cyber security dialogue which was headlined by the Australian Prime Minister. A similar dialogue has also been initiated with Israel. Through these mechanisms Australia can model global responsibility and champion the values of an open, free and secure Internet.

The Ambassador for Cyber Affairs is increasing Australia’s influence and ensuring our core national values – freedom of speech, rule of law and the right to privacy – are central to the global cyber affairs debate. Defending the international rules based order and influencing emerging norms of state behaviour in cyberspace to be consistent with Australia’s core national values is a long-term project. A project made all the more important by the tumultuous and unpredicted global events that have punctuated the Strategy’s first year.

Australia has continued cyber policy dialogues with China, India, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand and will shortly hold its inaugural dialogue with Indonesia. Bilateral cyber policy engagement has been expanded with other Indo-Pacific nations, including Singapore, Fiji and Samoa.

Australia is also alive to its obligations in the region. CERT Australia is delivering on its commitment to the regional CERT community through its leadership of the Asia Pacific CERT, and increased involvement in Asia-Pacific capacity building. Australia is also embracing a future where a flourishing private sector works in parallel to formal diplomacy to organically advocate our values and spread necessary cyber security skills and products throughout the region. To that end, Austrade is refining its outreach work and maximising trade opportunities for Australian cyber security businesses.

International collaboration is about more than law and values. Australia is leading collaboration between international partners and like-minded countries on incident management, with expansion of international exercising having included New Zealand and Japan.

“Australia’s international cyber strategy and the effective engagement of the private sector will have important ramifications for Australia and our Asian businesses.”

Steve Jackson, Head of Security, Qantas

Next Steps

Australia’s international cyber engagement strategy will both prioritise our international cyber security goals and communicate that agenda to the community. Optimised engagement efforts, combined with the delivery of a rolling series of capacity building grants, will accelerate collaborative partnerships with regional nations. Australian know-how will boost cyber security skills and governance in our region. Further iterations of dialogues with business will continue to strengthen public-private sector cooperation and further engage the private sector on addressing threats and realising the opportunities of the Internet.