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Go8 Supports PJCIS Approach to Protecting Australia’s Critical Infrastructure

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) recommendation to adopt a two-step approach to protecting Australia’s critical infrastructure will enable rapid response to counter cyber threats and ensure long term protections are effective, said Group of Eight Chief Executive Vicki Thomson.

“Group of Eight universities undertake the overwhelming majority of Australia’s national security-sensitive university research and are committed to ensuring the best protection measures are in place.

“By splitting the urgent and non-urgent elements of the Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill 2020, Australia will have the capacity to respond rapidly to looming cyber threats, while enabling a thorough consultation process to take place between universities, business and government to develop an effective regulatory framework for the long-term security of our critical infrastructure.

Ms Thomson said the PJCIS had adopted sensible recommendations from the sector, including allowing time for the operational details of the second Bill to be worked through in consultation with those affected by its passage.

As highlighted by the Go8 during the Committee hearing, we “need to be very proportionate in how we regulate these types of issues so that we effectively use regulations to get the best outcome in terms of protecting critical infrastructure…that we don’t get overwhelmed with red tape, because there’s an opportunity cost in a resource constrained environment from any kind of regulatory activity, and we want to make sure that we’re doing our best to get the best outcomes from these types of processes.”

The Go8 particularly supports Recommendation 9 in the Committee’s Report – that any rules to be designed under Bill Two be co-designed, agreed and finalised to the extent possible before the introduction of that Bill.  

The Go8 looks forward to working collaboratively with government and industry to co-design a framework that recognises industry concerns over regulatory impact, and importantly, provides the best possible protections for Go8 research critical to Australia’s national security.

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472