Cyber security left out of cabinet reshuffle

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Cyber security left out of cabinet reshuffle

No dedicated cyber portfolio.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has not appointed a dedicated minister for cyber security in Friday’s cabinet reshuffle.

Last month, The Australian reported that Morrison planned to create a cyber security role in his cabinet that would be added to the Home Affairs­ portfolio.

There were no changes made to the Home Affairs portfolio in today’s announcement, meaning Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton will retain responsibility for Australia’s cyber security policy and coordination. 

The opposition have described the omission of as a “missed opportunity” in a joint statement released by Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Senator Kristina Keneally and Tim Watts, Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security.

“Despite media reports touting that Scott Morrison would create a cyber security cabinet position, responsibility for cyber security remains buried at the bottom of Peter Dutton’s over-flowing in tray,” they write.

“Microsoft, Telstra, PwC, and the Australian Industry Group have all called for the creation of a dedicated cyber security portfolio to provide the leadership needed to build Australia’s cyber resilience both inside government and out.

“It’s now clear that cyber security will remain politically orphaned under the Morrison Government.

“This is particularly concerning given the ever-growing threat of cyber-attacks, which continue to increase in volume, frequency, and sophistication with the potential to significantly disrupt people’s lives and Australia’s economy."

The Prime Minister’s office did not respond to request for comment prior to publication.

As part of the changes to the ministry announced on Friday, Paul Fletcher no longer has cyber safety in his title.

Previously the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Fletcher will take on responsibility for urban infrastructure as Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts.  

Senator Jane Hume will join the ministry and adds digital economy to her responsibilities “in recognition of the growing importance of digital technology to Australia’s economic future”, Morrison said in a statement announcing the moves.

She is now Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy, a promotion from her previous role as Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology.

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