Interview with Peter Stefanovic, Sky News First Edition

Release details

Release type

Related ministers and contacts

The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

Media contact

02 6277 7800

Release content

4 November 2022

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Okay, let's go to Sydney now, and joining us live is the Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles. Richard, good to see you, thanks for your time this morning.

Before we get to Cyber, I'm just seeking some clarification on gas because the Prime Minister said this week cash handouts were cheap politics. Last night, the Treasurer wouldn't rule out subsidies for gas bills. Plus, you've got ongoing division between Ed Husic and Madeleine King's messaging. Are you all on the same page?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER RICHARD MARLES: Yes, we are. We understand the pressures that Australians are facing in relation to this. We know that there needs to be more supply. We are going to be working with the gas companies to look at ways in which that can happen and ways we can move forward which give rise to a downward pressure on gas prices –


DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: And we've been dealing with this issue from, pretty well the beginning of coming into power. We've been handed a pretty difficult set of cards from the former government in relation to this, but we are working very closely with the sector to try and get a result which sees a downward pressure.

STEFANOVIC: I get that and I understand it's very complex. But just to clarify, a handouts or subsidies - in or out?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: We're not about to be sending cheques to people. We've made that clear. And part of that is about making sure that we're not adding to inflationary pressure. But we will be working with the companies in the sector to try and do everything we can to make sure that there is supply, so that we can have a downward pressure on gas price.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, so when Jim Chalmers says the subsidies still may well be on the table, is he wrong?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: As I say, we're working with the companies involved to see what options there are to give rise to greater downward pressure on prices. And we're going to do this in the way in which we've been operating since we've come to power – getting people around the table, making sure that we're working up answers which achieve the desired result.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. Cyber breaches, they're striking our biggest companies, government departments, individuals almost daily. You've got new data out this morning. How bad is it?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is a growing problem. The Australian Cyber Threat Report, the annual report, has been released today. 76,000 cybercrime incidents in the last financial year, that's an increase of 13 per cent on the previous year. What that means is that we're seeing a cybercrime reported every seven minutes. The average cost for a small business in relation to each of these incidents is about $40,000. So this is costing business a significant amount of money. On the other hand, for cybercriminals, this is big business. And I think that's part of why we're seeing an increase in this. We're living more of our lives online and that's probably been accelerated as a result of the pandemic in the murky, grey world which is the cyber space we're seeing more state actors as well. That's perhaps more in the open in the war in Ukraine, with Russian Malware attacks on Ukraine, but in the midst of all of this crime, state actors, they're cross pollinating, and this is giving rise to a more challenging environment. And what's really important is that we are defending ourselves against that at a government level with big business, but also individuals need to be vigilant as well.

STEFANOVIC: State actors? China?

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well, I don't think it serves to walk down the path of naming them, other than obviously what's in the open with the war in Ukraine, but what we are seeing is greater activity from a number of state actors. And there is this cross pollination between state actors and cyber criminals, which is giving rise to an increased threat. And the common denominator in all of this is we need to be hardening our systems and defending ourselves, which is why we're spending more money on the Australian Signals Directorate.

STEFANOVIC: OK. Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles from Melbourne there. I said you're from Sydney, but from Melbourne this morning, just a clarification there. Appreciate your time as always, Richard Marles.


Other related releases