SCP - Chapter 5 - The role of AustCyber

AustCyber's mission is to grow a vibrant and globally competitive cyber security sector that enhances Australia's future economic growth

5.1 Establishment

The Australian Government has recognised the strategic potential of cyber security as part of the nation’s security and economic growth. The Government’s four-year national Cyber Security Strategy, backed around A$230 million of funding, established the development of Australia’s cyber security capability as a national priority issue. This has set Australia on a path to enable all local businesses to grow and prosper through cyber security innovation.

As part of the strategy, AustCyber – the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network Ltd – was formed in 2017 as an independent national body to grow a vibrant and globally competitive cyber security sector.

5.2 Role

AustCyber’s role is to align disparate cyber security initiatives and investments across the business sector, research community, academia and governments in Australia. Governments play an important part in the cyber security ecosystem. They are as much producers and consumers of cyber security as the private sectors and research community. AustCyber’s Co-Chair and Board structures reflect the relevance of governments in the cyber security sector.

5.3 Mission

AustCyber’s mission is to grow a vibrant and globally competitive cyber security sector that enhances Australia’s future economic growth. As part of this mission, it aims to be an independent national body to better align disparate cyber security initiatives and investments across industry, the research community, academia, and government.

AustCyber is part of the Australian Government’s A$250 million Industry Growth Centres Initiative, which aims to tap new sources of economic growth by maximising Australia’s competitive advantage in six knowledge-driven, high-value sectors. Growth Centres are independent, not-for-profit entities. Each Growth Centre has an industry-led Board, recognising that the private sector is best placed to overcome challenges to innovation, productivity and growth.

Australia’s cyber security sector is nascent and, as such, does not currently have strong sector-focused industry associations covering the full breadth and depth of the challenges and opportunities of securing cyberspace. Against this background, AustCyber is working with existing industry groups, such as the Australian Computer Society and the Australian Information Security Association, to ensure a deeper understanding of their ecosystem and policy advocacy opportunities.

AustCyber has quickly cemented relationships with key stakeholders across Australian governments, the private sector and the research community. It is building on relationships to work more closely with other key industry associations and groups, such as the Business Council of Australia, Ai Group, Australian Institute of Company Directors and Council of Small Business Australia. This will help support a more cohesive and vibrant Australian cyber security ecosystem.

AustCyber is led by the needs of the cyber security sector – recognising it as an emerging sector of the economy where business, academia and governments are producers and consumers alike. AustCyber supports Australian-based cyber security businesses from ideation to export. AustCyber has developed a range of mechanisms to enable these businesses to flourish nationally, regionally and globally.

5.4 Strategic themes to mid-2023

Demonstrate leadership and coherence

Create a national cyber security narrative and ensure cohesion across national cyber security programs, leading to accelerated industry investment and more rapid scaling.

Actions: AustCyber continues to raise its public profile, seize opportunities to present its purpose and objectives to stakeholders worldwide, and align the cyber security innovation focus of Australian state and territory governments.

It continues to attend, sponsor and host relevant national and international events, which provide an opportunity to promote AustCyber’s unique mission and the world-leading opportunities in Australian cyber security capability.

To strengthen its public image, the Cyber Security Growth Centre rebranded as ‘AustCyber’ in 2017. It also overhauled its website to include a new section for startups seeking funding opportunities and other relevant information.

AustCyber has started engaging with all Australian, state and territory governments with the goal of signing Memorandums of Understanding with each for a National Network of Cyber Security Innovation Nodes, which are collaborative spaces for cyber security research, innovation and commercialisation.

Drive industry collaboration and coordination

Enable connectivity and information flow to promote high levels of collaboration. This will reduce duplication and therefore allow better leverage of resources and create increased productivity.

Actions: AustCyber has begun to improve the connectivity of the Australian cyber security ecosystem by facilitating meetings and information exchange between businesses and investors.

To better understand how to provide support, it is currently mapping existing activities and gaps in bringing together buyers and vendors of cyber security products and services.

AustCyber continues to host and support events to strengthen the national industry engagement in Australia. For example, in October 2019 it delivered the inaugural Cyber Week nationally.

Accelerate commercialisation

Accelerate the creation and adoption of Australian cyber security products, services and best practices, domestically, regionally and globally.

Actions: AustCyber proactively seizes opportunities to promote Australia’s cyber security solutions at key national and international trade shows and summits. It is also working towards increasing the effectiveness of existing Australian incubators and accelerators relevant to cyber security.

In February 2019, AustCyber, in collaboration with Austrade and other key government bodies, led a delegation of almost 50 Australian cyber security companies on a mission to New York, Washington and San Francisco to connect with the world’s leading cyber professionals.

To improve the success of Australia’s existing incubators and accelerators relevant to cyber, AustCyber has begun to analyse the current R&D landscape and identify gaps in the performance of existing spaces to incubate cyber security startups.

Facilitate talent growth

Rapidly build the size and professionalism of Australia’s cyber security workforce to become globally competitive and respected.

Actions: AustCyber is working to address current skills gaps and expand workforce capability through improving workforce education and training, broadening the role of cffyber security challenges, and increasing diversity in the cyber workforce.

In 2017, AustCyber coordinated TAFEs from all states and territories to agree to deliver the first nationally consistent vocational education and training curriculum in cyber security. This started rolling out in 2018. The Certificate IV and Advanced Diploma are based on qualifications developed at Box Hill Institute in Victoria.

AustCyber is developing a comprehensive national program of Cyber Security Challenges, modelled on a UK series of competitions where individuals can test their cyber security skills. These challenges are designed to bolster the national pool of cyber skills by offering activities for individuals to learn and consider a career in the sector.

Pursue policy advocacy and reform

Proactively recommend and support policy and regulatory reforms aimed specifically at the cyber security sector to foster an environment in which innovation and entrepreneurship can thrive.

Actions: AustCyber is working to identify opportunities to harmonise Australian cyber security regulations with international standards to reduce cost of compliance and improve market access. The harmonisation of domestic and international standards to a single globally acceptable standard is a critical step and one that, at the international level, Australia can help progress – leveraging Australia’s relative market size to diplomatic and strategic policy standing.

AustCyber is collaborating and consulting with international organisations and key stakeholder groups in Australia to explore opportunities for harmonisation and, where possible, remove bespoke standards and guidance. Where possible, AustCyber seeks to provide improved, tailored communication on regulatory requirements and guidance, with priority for small to medium entities.

Through its policy advocacy role, AustCyber will support industry discussion on issues that may attract regulatory responses and the possible industry impacts of such action, as well facilitate engagement with governments on such discussions.

AustCyber will also work with relevant government agencies to ensure regular industry consultation on export controls and other barriers to cyber security innovation and commercialisation.

AustCyber will further work with industry associations and other peak bodies to ensure industry interests are appropriately represented in discussions on the ways and means to boost the availability of skilled cyber security workers, including on temporary visas and related matters.

AustCyber’s Regulatory Reform Plan is at Appendix C.