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Budget 2018: Government eyes blockchain, funds Parliamentary cyber centre

AU$700,000 has been allocated for the DTA to explore the use of government blockchain technology, and AU$9 million for establishing a cybersecurity operations centre for the parliamentary computing network.

The Australian government has revealed under its 2018-19 Budget that it will be providing the Department of Parliamentary Services with AU$9 million in funding over four years to establish a cybersecurity operations network.

The funding will be split into AU$2.6 million in 2018-19, AU$2 million in 2019-20, AU$2 million in 2020-21, and AU$2.1 million in 2021-22, as well as related capital in 2018-19 of AU$300,000.

According to the Budget papers, the centre will "enhance cyber security protection for the parliamentary computing network".

The government's focus on cybersecurity saw it recently open the Sydney Joint Cyber Security Centre, the fourth of five centres in the country's capital cities that are funded under a AU$47 million program, with Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor in March telling ZDNet that the Australian government considers itself to be "world-leading" on cybersecurity.

Taylor and Commonwealth Cyber Coordinator Alastair MacGibbon and Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan have also been meeting with their US government counterparts and senior officials to strengthen cybersecurity ties, while the restructured ACSC (Australian Cyber Security Centre) is set to establish a "24/7 cyber newsroom" to "drive out early warning and outreach" proactively.

During Tuesday's Budget, the Australian government also set aside AU$700,000 in funding for the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) to "investigate areas where blockchain technology could offer the most value for government services".

According to the government, DTA will bear this cost through its existing resources.

The announcement follows a House of Representatives committee on Tax and Revenue in October pondering the use of blockchain for taxation.

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