Security, privacy and the 2018 budget

A quick look at the 2018 budget for new and interesting cyber security and privacy related initiatives.

Marcus Wong, Principal Consultant ( | May 11, 2018

On the security front, we found surprisingly few new cyber security related initiatives:

  • The Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) will establish a cyber security operations centre for Parliament House with $9 million allocated over four years. The centre will "enhance cyber security protection for the parliamentary computing network".
    • Note that in 2011, there were widespread media reports that Australia’s parliamentary computer network had been compromised by Chinese intelligence agencies.
  • There will be a second tranche of funding (no detail provided) to boost the security and resilience of the Bureau of Meteorology’s IT systems.
    • The Bureau’s IT systems were the target of a successful cyber-attack in 2015, reportedly by China.
  • $14.4 million was allocated for cyber security support and assistance to Papua New Guinea for the Asia Pacific Economy Cooperation (APEC) conference in 2018.
  • Under new machinery of government changes announced in the budget, the role of cyber policy co-ordination will move from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to the Department of Home Affairs. This was previously transferred from the Attorney-General’s Department to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet back 2012.

On the privacy side, $65 million was allocated over 4 years to establish national arrangements (known as the Consumer Data Right (CDR)) to fund new data sharing and release arrangements that will give consumers greater control over their personal data and make more public-sector data sets available for businesses, agencies and researchers.

  • This will include $12.9 million for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to assess the privacy impact of the CDR.

Other interesting spending of note includes the following:

  • $92.4 million for the Digital Transformation Agency this financial year on “accelerated implementation” of its GovPass digital identity solution.
  • $700,000 for the Digital Transformation Agency to investigate the use of Blockchain technology for government payments.