Protecting critical infrastructure and Systems of National Significance reforms
In order to manage the rapidly evolving type of risks to our security, economy and sovereignty, the Australian Government is
undertaking major reforms to enhance the security and resilience of critical infrastructure. To achieve this, the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) is progressing the Protecting Critical Infrastructure and Systems of National Significance reforms, a key initiative of Australia’s
Cyber Security Strategy 2020.
On 10 December 2020, the Minister for Home Affairs introduced the Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill 2020 (SLACI Bill) to Parliament. The SLACI Bill, which contains essential reactive powers allowing Government to assist industry in dealing with sever cyber security attacks, was passed by the Parliament on Monday 22 November 2021.
The Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure Protection) Bill 2022 (SLACIP Bill), was released for public consultation on Wednesday 15 December 2021. The SLACIP Bill will support the SLACI Act by introducing preventative measures to increase the level of collaboration between industry and Government to uplift the security and resilience of critical infrastructure. An exposure draft of the SLACIP Bill can be found here.
More information on the SLACI Bills and the supporting co-design process can be found on the
Reforms to the aviation and maritime transport sectors
The aviation and maritime transport sectors have an established regulatory framework under the
Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 (ATSA) and the
Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 (MTOFSA), overseen by the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Centre (CISC).
To reduce regulatory duplication and build on the established regulatory framework, the Government is also amending the ATSA and MTOFSA as part of the critical infrastructure reforms. These will be captured in the Transport Security Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill 2022 (Transport Security Bill).
These reforms reduce duplication and build on the existing regulatory framework by encompassing the ‘positive security obligations’ in the SLACI Bill into the ATSA and MTOFSA. This will uplift the current framework from a focus on unlawful interference (terrorism) to encompass an enhanced ‘all hazards’ risk management framework.
This framework will encompass threats that could impact on the confidentiality, integrity, availability, or reliability of an industry participant’s operations. A specified subset of industry participants deemed by the Minster of Home Affairs, to be critical to Australian national security, defence and/or economic prosperity will be required to identify, detect and respond to ‘all hazards’ threats.
The Transport Security Bill will:
- Broaden the definition of unlawful interference for all industry participants in order to capture cyber-security incidents.
- Establish mandatory reporting of cyber security incidents.
- Introduce powers for the Minister for Home Affairs to declare certain industry participants as ‘critical industry participants’.
- Introduce a new definition of operational interference requiring critical industry participants to identify and mitigate against the ‘all hazards’ framework.
- Modernise compliance powers to align the regulatory framework with other Australian Government frameworks and ensure continued compliance.
The amendments to the ATSA and MTOFSA will be supported by anticipated changes to the
Aviation Transport Security Regulations 2005 (ATSR) and the
Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Regulations 2003 (MTOFSR). The Department will undertake a co-design process with industry when developing the regulatory amendments to ensure the enhanced ‘all hazards’ regulatory framework avoids regulatory duplication by recognising and supporting current industry practices where possible.
The commencement of the Transport Security Bill and regulatory amendments will be followed by a transition period, to be agreed by Government. This will provide industry with time to uplift their practices to meet the requirements of the new framework.
Public consultation on the Transport Security Bill
Prior to the introduction to Parliament, an exposure draft of the Transport Security Bill will be released for public consultation. The consultation period will last for approximately eight weeks, during which the Department will be accepting formal submissions on the Transport Security Bill.
The Department will host a number of town halls and roundtables to provide a briefing on the proposed changes, engage on implementation and answer any questions. Additionally, the Department will also be available for bilateral meetings if requested. See our website for
more details on the public consultation period.
Regulatory co-design process
Soon after the public consultation process on the exposure draft Transport Security Bill is complete the Department will commence co-design on the amendments to the ATSR and MTOFSR.
Over a number of months, the Department will run a series of small meetings and workshops to discuss different aspects of the regulations. Between each round the Department will refine the regulatory amendments for further consultation in the next round. Co-design will wrap up with a larger Exposure Draft public consultation period. Towards the end of the co-design process a Regulation Impact Statement will be completed on the regulatory amendments.
It is anticipated that this process will commence in the first half of 2022. More details on this process will be released closer to this stage of the reforms.
Please see below for a list of key milestones for these reforms. Please note these are indicative timeframes and subject to change.
Public exposure of the Draft Bill
15 December 2021 – 1 February 2022
Introduction of the Bill to the Parliament
Regulatory co-design with industry
First half of 2022
Act and Reg amendments come into force
12 months from commencement
Should you have any questions on these reforms please reach out to
Should you have any questions concerning the SLACI Bill and the impact of the reforms on other sectors of the economy, please reach out