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.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

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.

Budget 2018 Coverage

Budget 2018: Tech and science gets AU$2.4 billion

The Australian Science and Technology Growth Program will push artificial intelligence, supercomputers, eSafety, women in STEM, intellectual property, space, and research and development.

Budget 2018: Government confirms AU$41m space agency

Australia will create its own national space agency using AU$41 million in funding over the next four years, with the project part of its new Technology and Science Growth Plan.

Budget 2018: AU$260m to improve GPS and satellite

Australia will spend AU$160 million to deliver a Satellite-Based Augmentation System, AU$64 million on its National Positioning Infrastructure Capability, and AU$37 million on satellite data access.

Budget 2018: Govpass gains AU$92.4m

The AU$92.4 million in funding will be used to accelerate the Govpass program, including the creation of a pilot Tax File Number application process.

Budget 2018: Crackdown on R&D and tech taxation

The Australian government will 'better target' its R&D tax, with a discussion paper on taxing multinational digital companies also coming in the next few weeks.

Editorial standards