A message from AustCyber's CEO Michelle Price - February 2022


As I write this update, the world has taken another turn into familiar yet still somewhat unchartered territory with what’s unfolding in eastern Europe. For those not directly involved, there is already much to observe, analyse, assess and share.

Staying international, #ICYMI, on 20 January, the Australian Government announced a new Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership between Australia and the UK, under the Free Trade Agreement (AUKFTA) which was recently signed. The agreed initiatives include: 

  • Increasing deterrence by raising the costs for hostile state activity in cyberspace – including through strategic coordination of our cyber sanctions regimes;
  • Strengthening the resilience and response capabilities of countries in the Indo-Pacific region to malicious cyber activity via joint capacity building activity. This will include tackling the increasing threat from ransomware through a joint initiative delivered in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – a valuable step in helping the region to bring an end to criminal activity in cyberspace;
  • Developing an action plan on global standard-setting to ensure global standards deliver on our security priorities, economic interests and reflect our values;
  • Advancing the Women in Cyber agenda, including through the Women and International Security in Cyber Fellowship.

There is more to come in the delivery and implementation of the AUKFTA, with lots of ways for you to get involved. This includes through the reinstatement of in-person trade and business delegations. A big shout out to our close friends at the Australian British Chamber of Commerce - we’ll be sharing more information soon on two business delegations coming up that will be fantastic opportunities to reignite and/ or confirm partnership and commercial opportunities. If you’re not already engaging with the Chamber, get involved. 

To elsewhere in the world, where two of the biggest cyber events will also back this year, in person - Black Hat Asia (10-13 May), RSAC San Francisco (6-9 June) and Black Hat USA (6-11 August). A reminder that if you’re interested in attending in real life, please let us know. We’re keen to gauge the interest in an AustCyber sponsored delegation to these events - our first in two years. Oh my, the anticipation …

Back home, also #ICYMI, the second Bill associated with critical infrastructure security reforms is before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS), which is taking submissions from stakeholders. AustCyber is pleased to see the commitment to alignment with international standards proposed in the Bill and the draft rules, consistent with the messaging of the final report of the NSW Cyber Security Standards Harmonisation Taskforce, which we co-convened over 2020-21.

In our 19th episode of OzCyber Unlocked, titled ‘International Women’s Day 2022 - hacking the gender balance’, I talk with Kate Pounder, CEO of the Tech Council and Lesley Seebeck, Honorary Professor at The Australian National University. We’re discussing the barriers and opportunities for women in the tech sectors and how to tackle a lack of parity in middle and senior management roles. In the spotlight segment, I speak with Melinda Cilento, CEO of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) on the economic costs of not getting the gender balance right, including for our industry. Our conversations have some real gems, including that International Women’s Day also provides the much needed widening of the aperture for discussions on gender neutrality. Make sure you take a listen when it's released in the coming days. 

I also wanted to draw your attention to AUCyberExplorer and some interesting data that has emerged. In the last year, there were 21,000 cyber security roles advertised in Australia, up from 14,000 in the previous reporting period, but despite a 50 per cent increase in job advertisements, the skilled workforce only grew by 25 per cent. This data shows a significant gap in our skilled workforce, and we don’t see this demand slowing as the cyber sector continues to grow. Be sure to check it out and see what supply and demand is like for your local area - you may be surprised! 

Finally, I wanted to give a shout-out to Olivia Grandjean-Thomsen, our Head of Communication, Media and Events. Liv is obviously known to the vast majority of you - she is heading off on amazing leave (aka maternity leave) on 16 March. Dajana Badzim, who comes to the role from a strong marketing and branding background, is stepping into her role during this period. Our very best wishes to Liv and her family as they welcome a little one into the world. Cyber Roo has already taken up residence in the nursery so Liv has no choice, she won’t be far from our thoughts.