Legislation to safeguard Australia's critical infrastructure and strengthen the Government's national security posture against risks of sabotage, espionage and coercion in the electricity, gas, ports and water sectors has commenced.
The Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018 (the Act), introduces new measures to ensure the Government is able to support industry to mitigate any identified national security risks and enhances the capability of the Critical Infrastructure Centre (the Centre).
The Act establishes a register of Australia's highest-risk critical infrastructure assets, including information on asset ownership, access and control. It also introduces a ministerial directions power that allows the government to take action where a risk cannot otherwise be mitigated which will significantly enhance the Critical Infrastructure Centre's capacity to assess and manage complex risks.
The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said the Act is an essential step to safeguard Australia’s critical infrastructure from the increasingly complex national security risks of sabotage, espionage and coercion.
"While foreign involvement in Australia's infrastructure and economy is welcomed, it does mean our critical infrastructure assets are potentially more exposed than ever," Mr Dutton said.
"The Act establishes a register, providing government visibility of who owns and controls the highest-risk critical assets and is based on public consultations involving more than 300 owners and operators and state governments."
The Act currently applies to approximately 165 assets in the electricity, gas, water and ports sectors. Impacted owners and operators in these sectors are able to report ownership and operational information securely at www.cicentre.gov.au.
Further information and guidance on industry’s obligations under the Act is also available on the website. Owners and operators should contact the Centre on 02 5127 7387 if they have any queries about the application and operation of the Act.