Home Affairs lands $37.3m for cyber security
Home Affairs has landed $37.3 million over the next four-and-a-bit years for its growing cyber security responsibilities, including as the home of the national office for cyber security.
Most of the funding – $27.9 million – falls in the coming 2023-24 financial year, with between $3 million and $3.1 million a year after that.
The allocation came a month after the agency said it had been given no new funding to stand up the office, which is intended to act as a coordination point for major cyber incident response.
That admission came in the broader context of a leaked report that found Home Affairs was suffering the effects of “structural underfunding”, exacerbated by a constantly expanding portfolio of responsibilities.
It appears Home Affairs will still have to absorb some of its cyber security-relateds costs, with the government noting that “the cost of this measure will be partially met from within the existing resources of the Department of Home Affairs.”
A breakdown of which Home Affairs initiatives were funded, and to what extent, was also not immediately apparent.
Broader $101.6m push
In its 2023-24 federal budget, the government allocated a total of $101.6 million over five years “to support and uplift cyber security in Australia.”
Of that amount, $46.5 million over four years, and $11.8 million thereafter, is slated for the establishment of a coordinator for cyber security, who “will be supported by the national office of cyber security and dedicated resources from within the Department of Home Affairs and other Commonwealth entities, with capacity to surge further in the event of a cyber incident.”
An additional $23.4 million over three years will go to the Department of the Treasury” for a small business cyber wardens program delivered by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia, to support small businesses to build in-house capability to protect against cyber threats.”
In addition, $19.5 million will be spent on work to improve the security of critical infrastructure assets and assist owners and operators to respond to significant cyber attacks.”
The government also said that $12.2 million in 2023-24 would be spent “to sustain cyber resilience of Commonwealth entities currently serviced by the Cyber Hubs pilot program and to continue assessment and certification of service providers used by the Commonwealth entities to host data.”
The Cyber Hubs concept was to have three of the largest federal government IT shops provide cyber security services to less-resourced, smaller agencies.
The pilot program had been extended into 2023 at the end of last year.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) was meant to play host to a fourth hub, but the status of this work is now unclear, with the budget documents noting that “funding provided to the Australian Taxation Office for Cyber Hub pilot activities” was “redirected” into the $101.6 million overall commitment to cyber security by the government.