Monday, 22 November 2021
Media release

Landmark reforms to national security legislation will better protect our critical infrastructure

The Parliament has today passed important amendments to Australia’s national security legislation, better protecting from cyber-attack the critical infrastructure we all rely on.

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said passage of the Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill sent a clear message to anyone considering using digital networks to interfere with Australia, our critical infrastructure, or our way of life.

“The Morrison Government won’t tolerate attacks on our critical infrastructure that might jeopardise our national security or economic prosperity,” Minister Andrews said.

“These changes will better protect the essential services all Australians rely on, such as electricity, water, healthcare or food and groceries.

“By securing passage of today’s bill, the Morrison Government has acted quickly on the recommendations of the bipartisan Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.”

Having finalised these amendments, the Government will continue to consult with industry on proposed additional amendments.

“We will continue to give our agencies the powers and authorities they need to keep Australians safe.

“It’s critical that we move quickly to progress these further reforms. I will continue to engage closely with industry and other stakeholders as the Government consults further on our additional amendments,” Minister Andrews said.

The passage of today’s bill follow significant reforms by the Morrison Government in 2021 to safeguard our community and economy from cyber security threats, including:

  • legislating the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill in August – giving police and law enforcement the powers they need to identify and disrupt crime occurring online, including on the dark web;
  • releasing Australia’s first Ransomware Action Plan, to safeguard individuals and businesses from ransomware by introducing new criminal offences, tougher penalties and a mandatory reporting regime; and
  • launching a significant national cybersecurity public information campaign, ‘beat cybercrime in your downtime’, to empower Australians to increase their cyber security and protect their online data.