Australian Defense Contractors Must Follow Cybersecurity Guidelines:Melissa Price

Small businesses bidding for federal government projects growing Australia’s military muscle will have new guidance to improve their security and make them fit to win contracts.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price will today launch the new guide, called Working Securely with Defence, co-developed by federal security and defence agencies along with the Australian Industry Group.

About 40 per cent of businesses applying for defence contracts have insufficient cyber security measures to meet Defence Department standards.

The guide will seek to address that by helping businesses to understand the improvements they need and their security obligations.

In turn, the document is expected to support the government’s $270 billion investment in Australia’s defence over the next decade.

Ms Price said the guide was part of efforts to improve the way Defence communicated and did business with industry in relation to its security obligations.

“The development of this guide has been a genuine team effort, drawing on deep expertise and connections across government, Defence, Australian defence industry and industry associations,” she said.

Australian Industry Group national president Chris Jenkins said the guide helped build the security culture, compliance and resilience of the defence industry.

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“This is so important to the strategic priorities of Australia, ensuring that both industry and Defence are working on the same page,” he said.

In the last year Defence has helped more than 600 companies improve their security through the Defence Industry Security Program, which assists Australian businesses in understanding and meeting security obligations for Defence projects, contracts and tenders.

There are more than 230 companies in the program.

The Defence Department is set to spend more on contractors as it delivers the multibillion dollar expansion in Australia’s military muscle flagged during the federal government’s release of its Defence Strategic Update last July.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the government would spend $270 billion over the next decade on defence as it looked to shore up Australia’s position in a more volatile post-pandemic world and amid a deteriorating strategic environment.

The Defence Department’s program to acquire military equipment will cost $70.5 billion in the four years to 2023-24, while maintenance will cost $56.3 billion.

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