New measures to safeguard Australia's critical infrastructure

14:29' 11-10-2017
The Government is seeking views on new legislation to help manage the complex and evolving national security risks from foreign involvement in Australias critical infrastructure. The Security of Critical Infrastructure Bill 2017 has been developed based on feedback received from key government and industry stakeholders and will supplement existing federal, state and territory regulations.

    Photo: janellis.com.au

    Foreign involvement in Australia's critical infrastructure is essential to Australia's economy.

    However with increased foreign involvement, through ownership, offshoring, outsourcing and supply chain arrangements, Australia's national critical infrastructure is more exposed than ever to sabotage, espionage and coercion.

    The Government's Security of Critical Infrastructure Bill 2017 proposes two new measures to better manage these risks.

    Firstly, it will create a 'last resort power' which will allow the Minister to issue a direction to an owner or operator of a critical infrastructure asset to mitigate significant national security risks.

    Secondly, a critical assets register will be created providing the Government greater visibility of who owns, controls and has access to, critical infrastructure assets. This information will inform the Government's assessments of assets most at risk from espionage, sabotage and coercion.

    The Critical Infrastructure Centre was established in January this year to bring together expertise and capability from across the Australian Government to manage these complex risks. The Centre is delivering more coordinated national security assessments to inform foreign investment decisions in significant and complex cases.

    The creation of the Centre has already refined our understanding of the highest-risk sectors and informed the further development of mitigation strategies.

    The Government thanks critical infrastructure owners and operators and state and territory governments for their ongoing constructive engagement on these important issues.

    More information on how to provide comment on the proposed legislation, and upcoming stakeholder forums is available on the Critical Infrastructure Centre website

    Submissions will be accepted until 10 November 2017.

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