Australia's peak ICT professional's organisation has called for cyber security to be pushed higher up the national digital policy agenda as the election enters its final laps.
In an announcement timed to match the today's innovation debate between industry and innovation minister Christopher Pyne and his shadow in the ALP, Kim Carr, the Australian Computer Society (ACS) revealed it national digital policy agenda.
The ACS called on the competing parties to accelerate the country's cyber security strategy as one of its top five digital economy policies.
The ACS said that with the cost of fraud and other cyber attacks expected to reach $70 billion by 2020, the newly elected government urgently needed to focus on developing ICT skills to manage the threat.
In a statement the ACS said, "increasing our pool of skilled cyber security professionals will be key to transforming our capabilities in this space. We also need to be raising awareness amongst Australians of the potential risks of the internet, such as identity fraud, and educating them on how they might protect themselves online".
ACS president Anthony Wong said that successive Australian governments needed to prepare for the pace and scale of the digital disruption and economic transformation.
"The information age is driving a depth and pace of change which is unprecedented in human history. Added to this is an Australian economy transitioning from one based less on our natural resources strength to one built increasingly around successful services and knowledge‑based industries. Now more than ever, we need our leaders to focus on the issues which will be pivotal to ensuring Australia captures the opportunities of the information age, whilst at the same time ensuring our people do not get left behind," Mr Wong said.
The ACS ranked lifting Australia's cyber security capability ahead of one of its most enduring policy positions, increasing gender diversity in the ICT sector, and even increasing take-up and quality of national broadband network services.
The professionals group recommended that the government reach out to cyber security professionals and target the academic sector for cyber security centres of excellence.
In April, the Turnbull government announced it would spend $230 million across 33 initiatives for its Cyber Security Strategy creating around 100 new jobs.
At the time it also announced increased international cooperation with offshore cyber security agencies but details of these initiatives have remained scant.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.