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Cyber Security Centre funding lacks detail: Opposition

Shadow Minister for Defence and Technology says it is unclear how the Centre will be funded or staffed.

Plans to build an Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) have been slammed by the Opposition for containing few details about how the ACSC will be funded or staffed.

According to Shadow Minister for Defence, Science, Technology and Personnel Stuart Robert, Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s announcement was “more about appearances” than substance.

"There were no details about the costs involved, required funding, how many more public servants will be hired and no indication as to who will even be responsible for running the Centre,” he said in a statement.

“Given the lack of detail I find it hard to believe it will be fully up and running by the end of this year.”

The ACSC, due to be operational by late 2013, is intended as a new hub for security professionals from the Defence Signals Directorate, Defence Intelligence Organisation, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Attorney-General’s Department’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Australia, Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Crime Commission (ACC).

According to Robert, Gillard has promised to increase the Defence budget by 3 per cent but instead has made over $25 billion of budget cuts.

“The Prime Minister continues to repeat that there is no more important role for government than keeping the nation safe, yet at the same time continues to rip money from the Defence budget,” he said.

Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam also criticised the National Security Strategy (PDF) this week.

According to Ludlam, the notion that online security threats are the new terrorism has already generated an “expensive overkill” in cyber security measures.

“The government has touted a series of troubling measures including the proposed retention of the electronic communications data of all Australians for a period of two years. What's next?”

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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More about: ASIO, Attorney-General, Australian Federal Police, CERT, Computer Emergency Response Team, Federal Police, Scott, Technology
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