Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology
Cyberspace and critical technology affect all aspects of international relations.
They underpin our national security, the protection and realisation of human rights and freedoms, global economic prosperity, sustainable development and international stability.
For Australia, cyberspace and critical technology are foreign policy priorities.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade leads Australia's international engagement on cyber and critical technology across the Australian Government. This work is coordinated by Australia's Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology, Brendan Dowling .
Follow the Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical technology on X (formerly Twitter) @AusAmbCyberTech.
2023-2030 Cyber Security Strategy
On 22 November 2023, Australia launched its 2023-2030 Cyber Security Strategy. The Strategy sets out the Australian Government's vision to be a world leader in cyber security by 2030.
The Strategy takes a whole-of-nation approach to building cyber resilience, incorporating domestic and international elements. The Strategy is built around six cyber shields:
- Strong businesses and citizens
- Safe technology
- World-class threat sharing and blocking
- Protected critical infrastructure
- Sovereign capabilities
- Resilient region and global leadership.
As Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Tim Watts MP has said, “Building resilience to cyber threats is an urgent, global priority – both at home and in our region”. The resilient region and global leadership shield outlines Australia's commitment to strengthening the capacity of our region and shaping international efforts to meet the evolving challenges of cyberspace. This will include:
Cyber RAPID Teams (Rapid Assistance for Pacific Incidents and Disasters)
- $26.2 million to establish Pacific 'Cyber Rapid Assistance for Pacific Incidents and Disasters (RAPID)' teams led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with representatives from a range of government agencies and the private sector. These teams will help respond to cyber crises as they happen in the Pacific, when Pacific governments request assistance.
- The Cyber RAPID Teams will work alongside other, complementary initiatives in the region listed below.
- The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade welcomes insights and perspectives from Australian industry on how to design, manage and deliver this initiative. Please see our industry brief for more detail on how to provide input.
Modernisation and Secure by Design Solutions
- $16.7 million to build long term resilience in the Pacific by working with partners to proactively identify vulnerabilities – such as end-of-life hardware and software – and trial secure by design solutions that reduce cyber incidents.
- Industry can help drive an uplift in cyber maturity and security throughout our region. The Australian Government will work with regional governments, the private sector, and technical community partners to pilot options to use technology to protect the region at scale. We will leverage industry solutions to protect more people, systems and data from cyber threats.
- Partnerships with Southeast Asia
- $4.5 million to work with partners in Southeast Asia to hone responses to cyber incidents, support practical recommendations for uplift and better position regional governments to prevent cyber incidents.
Capacity Building for Cyber and Critical Technology
- Australia will refocus Australia's cyber cooperation and capacity building efforts to be more targeted, impactful and sustainable and to enable our neighbours to better prevent cyber incidents and recover quickly when they occur. Recognising that people engage with cyber security issues in different ways, our efforts will continue to consider gender equality, disability and social inclusion. This includes continuing support for the United Nations Women, Peace and Security agenda, as well as Australia's National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2021–2031.
The 2023-2030 Strategy also sets out the Australian Government's commitment to continue to join with international partners to uphold international law and norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace, and impose costs on malicious actors that make cyberspace less safe and secure. Australia will advocate for technologies that are safe and secure by design.
The Strategy also outlines how Australia will uphold a multistakeholder approach to Internet governance, ensuring it is kept open, free and secure, and continues to underwrite our stability, prosperity, independence and sovereignty.
The 2023-2030 Strategy's Action Plan sets out actions the Government will take over horizon one (2023‒25) to set Australia on a path to achieving the Strategy's vision.
International Cyber and Critical Technology Engagement Strategy
Launched in 2021, the International Cyber and Critical Technology Engagement Strategy sets out Australia’s interests and goals in pursuit of a safe, secure and prosperous Australia, Indo-Pacific and world enabled by cyberspace and critical technology.
- International Cyber and Critical Technology Engagement Strategy [DOCX 320 KB]
- International Cyber and Critical Technology Engagement Strategy [PDF 4 MB]
The 2021 International Engagement Strategy identifies three interconnected and mutually reinforcing pillars – Values, Security and Prosperity – to guide Australia's international cyber and critical technology engagement:
• Values – We will always pursue a values-based approach to cyberspace and critical technology, and oppose efforts to use technologies to undermine these values.
• Security – We will always support international peace and stability, and secure, trusted and resilient technology.
• Prosperity – We will always advocate for cyberspace and technology to foster sustainable economic growth and development to enhance prosperity.
Further information on Australia’s critical technology agenda can be found on the Department of Industry, Science and Resources website.