As has been stated in previous submissions to Government, the Associations acknowledge Government’s desire to protect telecommunications infrastructure and the information transmitted across it from unauthorised access and interference.

Indeed, Australian Carriers, Carriage Service Providers and Carriage Service Intermediaries (C/CSPs) and other industry participants have an active and vested interest in ensuring that the nation’s networks and communications infrastructure are robust and resistant to external attack. Industry is, however, unable to support the proposed Telecommunications Sector Security Reform (TSSR), as described in the exposure draft legislation, for reasons including that it constitutes regulatory ‘over-reach’ in the form of a framework that:

  • will face challenges protecting communications networks, i.e. it will not deliver the increased protection the proposed reforms are aiming to achieve;
  • is out of step with regulatory approaches to protecting networks adopted in other countries, including the UK, USA and Canada, thereby putting Australia at a disadvantage in fighting cyber threats and undermine Industry’s ability to support these important peers;
  • hands unjustifiably significant additional and intrusive powers to Government and places regulatory burdens on Industry that will undermine its ability to protect against and respond to cyber attacks;
  • risks being highly disruptive to the deployment of new network technologies that are more robust in preventing cyber attacks;
  • will be a significant deterrent to technological investment in Australia;
  • imposes additional costs on Industry and (ultimately) consumers undermining Australia’s competitiveness at a time when digital innovation is an important area for growth for Australia;
  • fails to offer protection/indemnity to C/CSPs against the risk of civil litigation through ‘safe harbours’, thereby limiting information sharing and the ability to quickly respond to threats and to jointly engage in preventative action;
  • carries the risk that competition in infrastructure supply will be reduced, to the detriment of all Australians;
  • lacks transparency; and
  • fails to provide adequate consultative mechanisms and avenues of appeal.
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