Friday, 09 April 2021
Media release

Outcomes from Five Country Ministerial Meeting

The Australian Government is continuing to advance on the world stage its plan to keep Australians safe and secure, with the latest Five Country Ministerial Meeting.

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said the meeting with the United States of America, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada covered a range of important issues, including migration and borders, addressing foreign interference, cybercrime and countering child sexual exploitation and abuse.

“C​ooperation with our trusted partners is critical to keeping Australians safe, particularly in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," Minister Andrews said.

“By working together and leveraging our collective knowledge and experiences we can better respond to threats here at home."

Representatives agreed to share best practices on effective border and migration measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to collaborate with other likeminded countries to shape international processes and standards to support a resilient international travel system.

“The whole world is eager to open up again, but it's essential that we do it in a way that's safe and sustainable," Minister Andrews said.

“The development of international standards and best practice will be critical to ensure the resumption of large-scale international travel in the future."

The Five Country Ministers agreed to share experiences to combat foreign interference. This will build on the $145 million the Australian Government has invested since 2018-19 to counter foreign interference.

Ministers endorsed the Five Country Ministerial Statement Regarding the Threat of Ransomware, and agreed to actively support the Budapest Convention as the best tool to combat cybercrime.

Ransomware is one of the most immediate, highest impact cyber threats to Australia. It's one of the areas the Government is addressing through its $1.67 billion Cyber Security Strategy 2020, which is essential to keeping Australians safe from cybercriminals and online threats.

The Five Countries also agreed to undertake a feasibility study regarding the potential to develop a specific, combined dataset of child sexual abuse material to enable our respective law enforcement agencies to more efficiently identify and safeguard victims, and pursue offenders across our respective countries.

“This agreement will complement the extensive work already being done here in Australia to tackle online child sexual exploitation," Minister Andrews said.

“We all have a role to play in tackling this horrific behaviour, including technology companies who are neglecting their social responsibility to protect children online. Their use of end-to-end encryption is putting children's safety at risk and precludes lawful access to data.

“Our Government will continue to work with our trusted partners to pressure technology companies to address public safety challenges by building their systems and platforms with safety front of mind."

To see the communique from the Five Country Ministerial Meeting visit: Five Country Ministerial Commu​niqué