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The federal government has created a new centre for improving cyber security in Australia, aiming to protect sectors like the energy industry.

The government will allocate $31.9 million in funding for the Cyber Security Growth Centre from 2016-17 to 2019-20 and it will begin operating in early 2017.

The growth centre will work closely with industry sectors across Australia to build the quantity and professionalism of the nation’s cyber security workforce.

Utilities are one of the most targeted private industries for cyber crime, with the Australian Cyber Security Centre Threat Report 2016 finding the energy sector endured 18 per cent of threats in the 2015/16 financial year.

The Federal Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security, Dan Tehan, said strong cyber security underpinned Australia’s economy and was a major priority for the federal government.

“It is a fundamental element of our prosperity and confidence, and is absolutely vital for our national security,” Mr Tehan said.

“Cyber crime costs the Australian economy a conservative $1 billion annually.

“The global cyber security market was worth US$74.5 billion in 2015, and it’s estimated it will be worth close to US$170 billion by 2020.

“Our commitment to improving cyber security will create opportunities for Australian businesses to grow their operations and reach new markets with their innovations.”

The establishment of the growth centre is part of the government’s $1.1 billion innovation and science agenda and cyber security strategy.

The Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Greg Hunt, said the industry-led growth centre will ensure Australian businesses can take advantage of this growing market opportunity.

“It will bring together industry, researchers and governments to create a national enterprise that will provide the foundation for the development of next generation products and services needed to live and work securely in our increasingly connected world,” Mr Hunt said.

Craig Davies, former Head of Security for Atlassian, will be the growth centre’s Chief Executive Officer, commencing in early 2017.

“Mr Davies is an industry veteran with over 20 years’ experience in technology and cybersecurity areas with a reputation for delivering innovation in security,” Mr Hunt said.

The establishment of the growth centre has been driven by two of Australia’s most experienced IT executives, appointed as joint chairs in April 2016.

Doug Elix AO and Adrian Turner will continue to lead the centre in developing a national strategy for Australia’s cyber security industry to become a world leader in what is a flourishing sector.

The growth centre will operate as a not-for-profit company known as the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network.

Is your utility on the front lines of the fight against cyber threats?

At Secure Utilities, held at the Rendezvous Hotel in Melbourne on 23 March 2017, speakers will ensure you’re up-to-date with the latest methods and technology to keep utility assets and data safe.

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Lauren brings a fresh approach to content. While she’s previously written for publications as diverse as Australian Geographic, The Border Watch and Girlfriend, she’s found her true passion in her current role as an editor in the world of energy and infrastructure trade magazines.

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