Australian government doubles down on cybersecurity in new digital-forward budget

The 2021 budget is heavy on tech and cyber support—but security specialists warn that increased digitalisation makes agencies, businesses even bigger targets.

U.S. dollar sign circuitry.
Andrey Tolkachev / Getty Images

Australia’s cybersecurity industry has responded warmly to a range of cybersecurity budget investments, which will be even more important as the federal government doubles down on digital transformation to speed recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic disaster.

Billed as an Economic Recovery Plan for Australia, the country’s annual budget for 2020-21—delivered several months later than usual in a reflection of major disruption that saw the government invest $299 billion in support measures—which will increase to $507 billion with the new measures announced in the budget.

Chief among these is a formal JobMaker Digital Business Plan, an $800 million allocation that includes a host of modernisation programs that, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in announcing the funding, has been designed to directly support widespread digital transformation efforts.

“Many businesses moved online quickly when the pandemic hit, undergoing a decade of change in months, finding new customers or new ways of doing things,” Morrison said, noting that the package—which removes “out-dated regulatory barriers” as well as backing technology update and boosting small-business capabilities—“provides significant backing to continue that digital push and expanded opportunities for businesses to grow and create more jobs.”

Digital investments focus of the 2021 budget

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