Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Minister O'Neil remarks at CyberCX event

CLARE O'NEIL: Thank you. Al Mac, I liked your joke about introducing us in reverse order. You have no idea the building of fragile egos that you are in here, so that was a very brave, brave moment for you. 

I want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land. I want to acknowledge my Parliamentary colleagues, Senator Marise Payne and Senator James Paterson, both big supporters of the sector. It's great to see you both here and I want to really start by saying to John, to Al Mac, to the CyberCX team who are here, we're so proud of you. We really are. 

CyberCX is an innovative, brilliant firm that is employing, I think now, 1000 Australians in cybersecurity. What we want to see in cybersecurity, when we think about the vision that we have for this sector as a country, it's a bigger CyberCX and it's more brilliant firms like this one. So, when I got the opportunity to be here today to talk to you about the work that CyberCX has done on the academy, I absolutely leapt at the opportunity. We love what you're doing. Thank you. 

CyberCX Academy is something that really represents the approach that the tech industry takes to problems. And this is something I love about working with leaders in technology, which I've had the privilege of doing quite a lot in my work, both in Parliament and outside of it. There is a lot of discussion about the issues we face with skill shortages here in Australia. It's very legitimate to ask government to do something about those things and government does need to do more. But I love that the tech industry is also just rolling up their sleeves and getting in and trying to solve this problem themselves. That's really brilliant what you're doing. 

We have a new government in Canberra and that does mean a new approach. And I wanted to talk about a couple of small things that will really set us apart, I think, from what's come before. The most important thing that I want to see and the most important thing that's raised with me when I talk to leaders in cybersecurity around the country, is the need for us to work better as a team. We have to collaborate to deal with this problem. You are not going to solve it without us. We are not going to solve it without you. And so, we're really here today to say this is going to be a partnership, it's going to be a rich and wonderful partnership and we are going to do brilliant things together over the coming three years.

One of the first things that the Albanese Government did was to create a standalone Minister for Cybersecurity within the cabinet. This is a very important thing for the government to do. It is not window dressing and it's not optics. It's about us saying that we need government to start to really pull in and do the heavy lifting on this critical national problem. Now, there are wonderful things happening in cybersecurity within government and outside of it across Australia, but I also see a sector that's quite fragmented. And what's missing I think at the moment is that backbone that real, genuine, serious government engagement is going to give you. Because when you think about cybersecurity, it's everything and it's everywhere. It's a law enforcement problem, it's a national security risk and a capability. It is an industry development exercise and it's something that's literally affecting the lives of millions of Australians and millions of Australian businesses over the period of probably what will be the next three years. 

So, my job as the first Cabinet Minister with standalone responsibility for cybersecurity is to pick these threads up together and to weave this into the core national capability that we can make it. So, it is going to be a really exciting three years. And I'm really thrilled to be here today announcing what I think is an important step forward in some of the challenges that we face in bringing this sector to fruition. So, thanks for having me, really appreciate it.