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Australian government sets up Critical Infrastructure Centre for whole-of-government risk management

A joint media release by the Attorney-General, Senator The Hon George Brandis QC and the Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, announced the creation of a dedicated Critical Infrastructure Centre, within the Attorney-General’s Department, to manage the complex and evolving national security risks to Australia’s critical infrastructure.

The media release points out that the Commonwealth cannot address the sabotage, espionage and coercion risks arising from increased privatisation and outsourcing and offshoring of supply chain arrangements. The new Centre is expected to enable all levels of government, owners and operators to work together to identify and manage risks. The Centre will develop coordinated, whole-of-government national security risk assessments and advice to support government decision-making on investment transactions. It will also provide greater certainty and clarity to investors and industry on the types of assets that will attract national security scrutiny.

A critical assets register will be developed and maintained to enable a consolidated view of critical infrastructure ownership in high risk sectors across the country. The Centre’s initial focus will be on the most critical assets in electricity, water and ports sectors, but the list can be expanded in the future in consultation with states, territories, industry and investors. The Centre will release a public discussion paper outlining the challenges and seeking views on additional measures that could assist. In today’s digitised and increasingly connected and automated world, all of the above mentioned risks, sabotage, espionage and coercion attacks will more likely than not, take the form of cyber-attacks. The Centre intends to provide greater certainty and clarity to investors and industry on the types of assets that will attract national security scrutiny.

Read the media release here

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