AustCyber statement on passage of the Assistance and Access Bill 2018

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AustCyber acknowledges the Assistance and Access Bill has been passed by the Australian Parliament and, at the time of this statement, is expected to ascend to law soon.

We understand the intent behind the Bill, as do many in our ecosystem, but we also recognise that a number of companies in the sector feel that the potential impact on Australia’s cyber security industry has been underappreciated.

At this stage, it is important to recognise that there are many unknowns regarding the content and implementation of the legislation. It is unwise to jump to conclusions, or make assumptions that could unnecessarily perpetuate a sense of uncertainty from creators and consumers of cyber security products and services.

AustCyber is very aware of Australian businesses already reporting concerns raised by their investors and customers. These have been brought to our attention through a number of channels, including the responses we received to our joint industry survey with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute; the results of which are forthcoming.

AustCyber’s role is to support the sector to grow, including doing so within the parameters of legislation and regulation. We will continue to work constructively with stakeholders, and focus on properly understanding the detail of the Assistance and Access Bill, and providing guidance on what is actually covered by the legislation, how it will be implemented in practice, and how Australian companies can operate effectively within the legislation.

We will continue to present any possible economic impacts to Australia’s cyber security sector and seek to minimise those which are negative to businesses and the growth of the economy. As detailed in our statement earlier this week (available at here), AustCyber will be working to support industry in this endeavour over the coming weeks and months.

Cyber Security is a young industry in Australia and as such has not yet developed an established industry voice when it comes to policy advocacy. AustCyber’s role in policy advocacy is to identify key barriers to the success of the sector and support the ecosystem and industry associations.

AustCyber has existing relationships with several sector-specific and economy-wide industry associations. We will continue to collaborate with them, and others, on maturing and amplifying the voice of Australia’s cyber security sector.

AustCyber continues to press ahead with its mission. We are resolute that Australia’s cyber security sector has great potential and is critical to Australia’s economic prosperity and national security. We will continue to promote this domestically and internationally.

Doug Elix AO, co-Chair AustCyber Board

Michelle Price, CEO AustCyber