AUSCERT Says Budget Funding Will Help Bolster Cyber Resilience

Australia’s computer emergency response team, AUSCERT, says the 2024/25 Federal Budget continues the government’s focus on equipping its departments and agencies with the resources to strengthen their cyber-resilience.
“Government departments and agencies, including the Australian Tax Office, Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority, Australian Securities and Investment Commission, and the Department of Parliamentary Services and independent statutory agencies such as NDIS received significant budget allocations,” said AUSCERT GM Dr Ivano Bongiovanni.
“The long-term commitments made in this budget reflect the reality that securing our nation’s information assets is an ongoing program and not a one-off project. “”With online fraud and identity theft a major issue for every citizen, the commitment to a Digital ID will boost protection for consumers and make it harder for criminals to commit identity-based crimes.”
Among the key announcements, the government allocated AUD288 million to strengthen the capabilities of Australia’s Digital ID program, AUD40 million to support national efforts to aid the safer use of AI, and AUD50 million to improve myGov fraud detection capabilities.
ASIC will receive funding over the next four years to combat scams and online fraud, with a mandatory industry code to be introduced. Budget commitments to several government departments and agencies, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Sports Foundation will extend over several years, highlighting an ongoing commitment to boosting Australia’s cyber security capability.
A summary of key cybersecurity announcements in this week’s federal budget include: 
  • AUD39.9 million over five years to assist Australia seek “safe and responsible” ways to adopt AI technology. This will include a new advisory body and blocking national security risks.
  • AUD206.4 million provided over four years, and AUD7.2 million per year is ongoing to improve ASIC and APRA’s data capability and cybersecurity, as well as to continuing the stabilisation of business registers and modernisation of legacy systems. The ASIC and APRA industry levies will partially fund this.
  • The ATO will receive AUD187 million over four years to strengthen its ability to detect, prevent, and mitigate fraud against the tax and superannuation systems, including AUD78.7 million for upgrades to information and communications technologies to enable the ATO to identify and block suspicious activity in real-time.
  • The ATO will receive a further AUD83.5 million for a new compliance taskforce to recover lost revenue and intervene when fraudulent refunds are attempted.
  • Additionally, the government will provide AUD24.8 million to improve the ATO’s management and governance of its counter-fraud activities, including improving how the ATO assists individuals harmed by fraud.
  • AUD187.8 million over four years from 2024–25 (and AUD11.1 million per year ongoing) to upgrade ICT and security at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade premises.
  • AUD50.0 million over four years from 2024–25 (and AUD5.2 million per year ongoing) for enhancements to the myGov platform to continue to respond to the findings of the Critical National Infrastructure myGov User Audit and advice from the independent advisory board, including enhancements to the myGov support tool, strengthening myGov fraud detection capabilities, improving the myGov inbox and other communication tools and supporting users to secure their myGov accounts better.
  • The ten-year budget to deliver the 2024 National Defence Strategy is AUD50.3 billion, and includes national defence in the cyber domain.
  • AUD288.1 million over four years has been provided for Digital ID to strengthen privacy and protect consumers with stronger mitigations against fraud and identity theft.
  • AUD8 million is provided over three years from 2024–25 to support the Australian Sports Foundation to complete technology upgrades and improve cyber security for the fundraising platform.
  • AUD12.8 million over four years from 2024–25 (and $2.3 million per year ongoing) is going to the Department of Parliamentary Services to enhance information technology to support business productivity and cybersecurity.
  • AUD160.7 million is provided over four years from 2024–25 (and $24.6 million per year ongoing) to upgrade the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguards Commission’s information technology systems, to better protect the safety of NDIS participants, reduce regulatory burden on NDIS providers, and improve cybersecurity.
  • AUD206.4 million over four years from 2024–25 (and $7.2 million per year ongoing) to improve the data capability and cybersecurity of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and to continue the stabilisation of business registers and modernisation of legacy systems.
  • The government will also provide AUD67.5 million over four years from 2024–25 (and AUD8.6 million per year ongoing) to combat scams and online fraud through the introduction of mandatory industry codes to be established under a Scams Code Framework and increased use of the secure eInvoicing network. This funding includes AUD37.3 million over four years from 2024–25 (and $8.6 million per year ongoing) for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and the Australian Communications and Media Authority to administer and enforce mandatory industry codes for regulated businesses to address scams on their platforms and services, initially targeting telecommunications, banks and digital platforms services relating to social media, paid search engine advertising and direct messaging.
  • AUD23.3 million over four years from 2024–25 for the ATO to continue to oversee and operate the secure e-Invoicing network.
  • AUD6.3 million in 2024–25 for the ACCC to improve public awareness of scams and help the public to identify, avoid and report scams.
  • AUD1.6 million over two years from 2024–25 for the Treasury to develop and legislate the overarching Scams Code Framework.