Cyber security

Investing in cybersecurity should be a ‘no brainer’ for the budget, data expert says

- May 5, 2023 2 MIN READ
Notitia director Lisa Byrne
Data strategy veteran Lisa Byrne from Notitia expects to see increased investment in cyber security investment in the federal budget next Tuesday, saying the move is a ‘”no brainer” for the government.

Byrne argues it’s critical for small business to be incentivised to implement cyber security systems and upskill their workforce to deal with the growing threat from hackers and others.

“Considering the high profile data breach events of the past year and the government’s aim to become ‘the most cyber secure nation by 2030’, it’s a no-brainer that businesses are given a leg up to protect customer data, particularly given that Australia is currently #21 out of #75 countries, which means we’d have to move up three places per year, every year, over the next seven years,” she said.

“It’s absolutely time critical that small businesses step up, meet their cyber protection responsibilities and do their part to address the skills gap, by training Australia’s future cyber security workforce,” she said.

Byrne points to incentives for small business to invest in digital technology, cyber security and upskilling in last year’s budget under the former Coalition government, saying the recent hacks have built a sense of urgency for the business sector. 

The former Morrison government announced it will support small business through the Small Business Technology Investment Boost and Small Business Skills and Training Boost. The Technology Investment Boost was designed small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million to deduct a bonus 20% of the cost of expenses on digital technologies. The skills and training boost offers a similar incentive. 

But nearly a year after voters changed horses and installed Labor and Anthony Albanese as prime minister, the measures have still not been turned into law. It was meant to operate between for eligible expenditure from 29 March 2022 and 20 June 2023.

Nearly a year on, with high profile hacks such as the Medibank data breach now leading to a class action lawsuit, Byrne says it’s vital that the government ramp up its support for companies to improve their cyber defences.

“The only way to slow down or lessen the impact of cyber crime is to ensure that every business, big or small, is adequately protected and trained,” she said.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers will reveal the federal budget on Tuesday, May 9, at 7.30pm.