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Exposure Draft Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill 2020

The submission to the Department of Home Affairs in response to the Exposure Draft of the Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill (ED Bill) was prepared by the Law Council of Australia. 

The Law Council supports the objective of the Bill to create a transparent and coordinated national regulatory framework for the security of critical infrastructure, which focuses on building resilience against attack or compromise. The Law Council acknowledges the regulatory focus on cyber security, which reflects the major dependence on electronic communications and transactions across all sectors of the Australian economy and society, in all facets of business and personal life.

The Law Council welcomes the stated intent to ensure that the regulatory burden of the new regime is no greater than is necessary and proportionate to achieve this legitimate policy objective. The explanatory materials indicate that the government is alert to the need to avoid duplication of existing sector-specific regulation; and to take a measured and risk-based approach to enforcement and government intervention in responding to cyber security incidents affecting private infrastructure.

The Law Council’s aim is to ensure that these objectives are given full expression in the legislative framework. It is critical that the primary legislation contains adequate safeguards, which require the scheme to operate in a targeted, proportionate, fair and accountable way, rather than being overly reliant on executive discretion.

The Law Council raises two overarching issues, summarised in the submission below, in respect of which several amendments are recommended in this submission. The Law Council also cautions against seeking the urgent passage of this legislation in the remaining eight Parliamentary sitting days of 2020, given its complexity and potential impacts.

You can read the full submission below.
 

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