PM announces strategy to increase nation's cyber security

Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Inga Williams

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has unveiled plans to establish a national body to protect the nation from cyber threats.

Ms Gillard made the announcement during a speech in Canberra to launch Australia's first national security strategy.

She said the Australian Cyber Security Centre would be up and running by the end of the year.

"This will be a world-class facility combining existing cyber security capabilities across the Attorney-General's Department, Defence, ASIO, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission in a single location," Ms Gillard said.

"It will provide Australia with an expanded and more agile response capability to deal with all cyber issues - be they related to government or industry, crime or security."

Cyber security was one of three areas Ms Gillard said the government would focus on over the next five years, the others being building partnerships and engaging in the region.

Ms Gillard said the plan, called Strong and Secure: A Strategy for Australian National Security, would be updated every five years or sooner if required.

It identifies a number of key risks to Australia's security, including traditional problems such as espionage and state-based conflict, nuclear proliferation by rogue nations, instability in developing countries, terrorism and organised crime.

The Prime Minister said the national security strategy was designed to create "clarity" around the issue.

"First, because national security is the most fundamental task of government," she said.

"Secondly, because we are transitioning from one decade, the decade of 9/11, to a post 9/11 era where some risks and challenges endure and others are evolving rapidly.

"Third, because national security absorbs some 8% of what the Federal Government spends on behalf of the Australian people, and the priorities for that expenditure should be defined."

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