Australian Government Launches Its International Cyber and Critical Technology Engagement Strategy


The Australian Government has strengthened its commitment to cyber and critical technologies. As part of that, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Marise Payne, launched Australia’s International Cyber and Critical Technology Engagement Strategy on Wednesday, April 21.

The strategy recognises the importance of cyberspace and critical technologies to Australia’s future. Senator Payne says the Australian Government wants to harness the potential of emerging technologies while mitigating risks.

“It provides a framework to guide Australia’s international engagement across the spectrum of cyber and critical technology issues,” Minister Payne said during the launch.

“At the heart of the strategy is the prioritisation and enhancement of our cyber and critical tech diplomacy. It is a practical document that outlines the actions that we need to take to safeguard our national interests.”

According to Minister Payne, digital trade now accounts for AU$43 billion of annual economic activity in Australia. This is expected to rise to $192 billion by 2030. Built on three pillars, the new strategy will support cyber and critical technology resilience in Australia and the Indo-Pacific region in several ways.

The Australian Government will seek to co-sponsor a new UN Program of Action for Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace.

“This will establish a new permanent UN forum to continue negotiations and support implementation of the commitments already agreed to ensure real-world action,” Minister Payne said.

Australia’s Cyber Cooperation Program will get a further $20.5 million in funding to strengthen cyber and critical technology resilience across Southeast Asia. The program will be renamed the Cyber and Critical Tech Cooperation Program.

The Australian Government will also provide $17 million in funding to neighbouring nations to help strengthen their cyber capabilities. Senator Payne said the funding would specifically address cybercrime, online safety and help counter disinformation.

Announcing a raft of new partnerships during Wednesday’s launch, Minister Payne said;

“We’ll establish a partnership with Standards Australia to help countries in Southeast Asia to build the knowledge and skills to develop, adopt, and implement international standards for critical and emerging technology.”

The announcement of Australia’s International Cyber and Critical Technology Engagement Strategy comes one day after the Australian Government renewed its partnership under the Cyber and Critical Tech Cooperation Program with Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu to strengthen cybersecurity and resilience in those nations.

In her speech on Wednesday, Minister Payne highlighted the importance of supporting countries in the Indo-Pacific region to fight cybercrime and build resilience.

“The Australian Government isn’t just looking at today or tomorrow,” the Minister said.” We are looking at how technology will impact and disrupt our lives in the decades to come.”

Noting the new strategy marks another step in Australia’s efforts to shape the international cyber and critical technology environment, Marise Payne says the International Cyber and Critical Technology Engagement Strategy reaffirms the Australian Government’s commitment to rules-based international order, human rights, and international cooperation.