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Protecting Critical Infrastructure and Systems of National Significance

The submission to the Department of Home Affairs’ Consultation Paper, Protecting Critical Infrastructure and Systems of National Significance (Consultation Paper) released on 12 August 20201 was prepared by the Law Council of Australia. 

The Law Council’s response focuses on key attributes of the legislative amendments that would be necessary to implement the proposed regulatory regime. In view of the limited timeframe for public submissions on the Consultation Paper and the limited information provided about the intended design of the proposed regulatory regime, the Law Council provides some general observations on matters of legislative design, to ensure consistency with fundamental rule of law principles.

Particular areas of focus include the exercise of coercive powers and other direct action by the government (for example, the declaration of a cyber security state of emergency, authorising the use of offensive powers), and oversight and review mechanisms. These matters are broadly relevant to questions 11, 19 and 28-24 in the Consultation Paper.2 

In addition, as a general observation the Law Council notes that the proposed regime is likely to have a significant impact on business. The Law Council welcomes the general statement of intention in the Consultation Paper for the Government to ‘ensure that the new requirements build on and do not duplicate existing regulatory frameworks’. 3

However, the Law Council considers that the development and release of a detailed Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) for the proposed regime should be released for public consultation, in advance of any legislation being introduced into Parliament.

The Law Council acknowledges the assistance of the Queensland Law Society in the preparation of this submission, and in particular its Privacy and Data Law Committee.

You can read the full submission below. 

 


1 Department of Home Affairs, Protecting Critical Infrastructure and Systems of National Significance: Consultation Paper, (August 2020).

2 Ibid, 30-31.

3 Ibid, 12 and 17.
 

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