Interview with ABC Breakfast, Lisa Millar
Topics: Cyber funding announcement
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Lisa Millar: Australia will bolster its cyber security by recruiting up to 500 spies to combat attack on the nation's computer networks. $35 billion in existing defence funding will be spent on the country's cyber intelligence agencies over the next decade. Let's get more on that plan to bolster cyber security and bring in Defence Minister Linda Reynolds who joins us from Canberra. Good morning, Minister, welcome to Breakfast.
Minister Reynolds: Good morning and thank you for having me, Lisa.
Lisa Millar: What will these 500 warriors, as they've been dubbed, be doing?
Minister Reynolds: Malicious cyber activity against Australia and Australians has been increasing in frequency, in style and also in sophistication. That's why this Government has announced today the largest single-investment in cyber security in our nation's security history. It’s a $1.35 billion investment over 10 years to do a number of things - firstly, to increase the technology and the research available to the Australian Signals Directorate and also the Australian Cyber Security Centre, to make sure we can keep our nation safe. So, as part of that, we're recruiting 500 new cyber security experts. So for Australians who are looking at, perhaps, a change of career, what we're looking at is people with really strong integrity, a great deal of patriotism but also, if you've got an inquiring mind and you want to understand how things work, please go to asd.gov.au and look at joining us on the frontlines of the new frontier of defence for our nation.
Lisa Millar: Minister, I just want to take you up on the amount of $1.35 billion, it is existing money, it's not new money. We've heard from Greg Austin at the International Institute for Strategic Studies this morning who said, look, if you spread it out over 10 years it's $130 million a year - it's really not that much.
Minister Reynolds: Well, I don't know what world he lives in but $1.35 billion is a lot of money, again, that is additional funding and this is also...
Lisa Millar: It's existing money. It is money you have in the defence budget.
Minister Reynolds: It is new money for cyber. It is absolutely new money for the Australian Signals Directorate...
Lisa Millar: Coming from the current defence budget.
Minister Reynolds: No, it is new money for cyber security. But can I also say it is part of a $15 billion new investment in defence cyber and also information warfare that the Prime Minister and I will be announcing later this week. So that is significant new resources. It is new people. It is new money. And it's also new capability on the frontlines of our new cyber warfare and cyber defence capabilities.
Lisa Millar: Have we been...
Minister Reynolds: It is a significant new investment.
Lisa Millar: Have we been under-estimating the threat of China in this regard?
Minister Reynolds: Look, this is not aimed at any particular nation, but as I said, malicious cyber activity is growing rapidly and that is from cyber criminals and also from other nations. We have always been at the forefront of the cyber defence of our nation. And don’t forget Lisa, we don’t just do this alone as a single nation. We work very closely with the GCHQ in the United Kingdom and the NSA in the United States, and the United States Cyber Command. So we are part of a global network to keep the world but, particularly, to keep Australians safe from this increase in malicious cyber activity.
Lisa Millar: Linda Reynolds, time's up, I'm afraid. Thank you for joining us.
Minister Reynolds: Thanks very much, Lisa.