The Australian Government takes a coordinated, whole-of-nation approach to protecting Australians from cyber threats. Cyber security and online safety are a shared responsibility, and many Government agencies contribute to this collective effort alongside industry, the community, and the states and territories.
The Minister for Home Affairs / Minister for Cyber Security is responsible for Australia’s cyber policy coordination and setting the strategic direction of Government’s cyber effort.
The Department of Home Affairs leads the development of national cyber security policy. It also coordinates the implementation of
Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020.
As a Home Affairs portfolio agency, the
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) also has functions which focus on investigating and assessing the threat to Australia from malicious state-sponsored cyber activity.
The Minister for Defence is responsible for the Australian Defence Force (ADF), which defends against cyber threats to the nation’s warfighting ability and defence information networks.
National Security Science and Technology Centre (NSSTC) within the Department of Defence coordinates national security scientific research and development. Cyber security is one its six science and technology priority areas.
Australian Signals Directorate
The Minister for Defence is responsible for the
Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), which is a vital member of Australia’s national security community. ASD works across the full spectrum of operations required of contemporary signals intelligence and security agencies: intelligence, cyber security and offensive operations in support of the Government and ADF.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) sits within ASD and leads the Government’s efforts on national cyber security. It brings together cyber security capabilities from across the Australian Government, including Department of Home Affairs, Australian Federal Police (AFP), ASIO, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), ADF and the Defence Intelligence Organisation, to improve the cyber resilience of the Australian community and help make Australia the most secure place to connect online.
ACSC Partnership Program, delivered through centres in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, brings together partners from government, critical infrastructure, business and academia to enhance collaboration on cyber security. The centres are a critical hub for improving cyber security practices and share information in a trusted and secure environment.
The Attorney-General is responsible for the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD), which delivers programs and policies to support the development of Australia’s cyber security policies, including privacy, protective security, administration of criminal justice and oversight of intelligence, security and law enforcement agencies. AGD leads on criminal justice responses to cybercrime (including online child sexual exploitation and abuse) and also provides advice to Government on the application of international law in cyberspace. The AGD includes the
Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Centre, who are committed to strengthening the Commonwealth’s capability in counter fraud, and works closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on multilateral cyber processes.
The AGD owns the
Protective Security Policy Framework, which assists Australian Government entities to protect their information, people and assets, including from cyber threats by applying the
Essential Eight mitigation strategies.
ACIC also operate under the Attorney-General’s portfolio.
The AFP lead the investigation of serious and organised criminal cyber activity impacting Commonwealth Government departments, systems of national significance or the whole of the Australian economy. Through the
Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE), the AFP also leads the law enforcement response to online child sexual exploitation.
The ACIC works to discover and prioritise cybercrime threats to Australia, understand the criminal networks behind those threats, and support Australian Government response strategies.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs is responsible for leading Australia’s whole-of-Government international engagement to protect and advance our national security, foreign policy, economic and trade, and development interests in cyberspace.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) cyber effort is led by the Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology. The Ambassador leads the implementation of Australia's
International Cyber and Critical Technology Engagement Strategy (ICCTES) which was launched in 2021, and sets out Australia’s vision for a safe, secure, and prosperous Australia, Indo-Pacific region, and world enabled by cyberspace and critical technology. The strategy is implemented through a range of
multilateral partnerships and agreements.
The ICCTES prioritises and coordinates Australia’s whole-of-Government approach to international engagement across the full spectrum of cyber affairs and critical technology issues – including digital trade; cybercrime; cyber security; human rights and democracy online; international security; internet governance and technology for development.
DFAT is also responsible for managing the
Cyber and Critical Tech Cooperation Program (CCTCP), which supports activities that build cyber capacity across the Indo-Pacific region consistent with priorities identified in the ICCTES; together with
a multilateral program that works with regional and international fora including ASEAN and the United Nations to foster a peaceful and stable international environment; and the
Global Tech Network to foster collaboration between governments and technology companies that design, develop and deploy the next generation of digital technologies.
Industry, Science and Technology
The Minister for Industry and Science is responsible for the
Department of Industry, Science and Resources, which supports cyber security industry development, cyber security research and development, and the growth and development of technology industries.
This includes through the
Australian Cyber Security Growth Network (AustCyber), the
Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO)
State and territory governments
Partnerships between the Commonwealth and state and territories are key to advancing and protecting Australia's interests online. State and territory governments have primary responsibility for the protection of life, property and the environment within the bounds of their jurisdiction. Australia's
Cyber Incident Management Arrangements (CIMA) outline the inter-jurisdictional coordination arrangements and principles for Australian governments’ cooperation in response to national cyber incidents.
The Minister for Communications has responsibility for online safety, and protecting Australians from harmful online content. This includes online safety initiatives for Australian children and adults, education and awareness raising of online safety and addressing serious cyber abuse of Australian adults, cyberbullying of Australian children, technology facilitated abuse, and image-based abuse.
eSafety Commissioner was established in 2015 and leads the Australian Government's online safety education and harm prevention efforts. eSafety plays a lead role in helping educate all Australians about online safety issues and how to have safer, more positive experiences online. eSafety also investigates complaints about child cyberbullying, adult cyber abuse, image-based abuse, and illegal and restricted content, and can help get seriously harmful content taken down quickly.
The AFP-led ACCCE is an active leader in prevention, education and community messaging in relation to online child sexual exploitation and abuse.
ThinkUKnow Australia is an evidence-based education program led by the AFP, through a national partnership with state and territory police and industry partners. Established in 2009, ThinkUKnow is Australia’s first and only nationally-delivered, law enforcement-led online child safety program, supporting the critical work of the ACCCE.
Reporting Online Harms to the Australian Government
The Australian Government can provide advice and assistance, and can investigate concerns about a range of online harms. These may include, but are not limited to:
- cyber safety
- electoral integrity
- privacy/data breaches
- misinformation and disinformation
- online scams
- illegal online gambling
- exploitation of vulnerable people
- online bullying
- illegal or harmful content.
See the cyber security page for information on
Where to go for advice or to report an issue.