Australia Creating National Computer Emergency Response Team

The government also announced it will invest $79.3 million in a Disaster Resilience Australia Package to help local communities threatened by wildfires and other disasters.

Additional funding and new initiatives for disaster preparedness were announced recently by the government of Australia, with Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Minister for Home Affairs Bob Debus saying about $100 million will be spent in the next four years to strengthen the country's national security framework as part of the government's overall $685 million investment in airport security, counter-terrorism, policing and intelligence capability in the region, and e-security.

“This funding will support counter-terrorism efforts, enhance Australia's policing and intelligence capacity in our region, bolster computer security, and continue the national security public information campaign," McClelland said. The government will give $82.8 million to the Australian Federal Police to enhance its cooperation with other law enforcement agencies against offshore security incidents in particular, Debus said.

Some $8.8 million is going toward e-security, with existing computer emergency response arrangements being shifted to a new national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) that will be created in collaboration with AusCERT. The system will ensure Australian Internet users have access to information on cyber threats, vulnerabilities in their systems, and information on how to better protect their information technology environment. The government will spend $6.8 million on upgrading wireless emergency communications capabilities during major national security or disaster events.

The $79.3 million Disaster Resilience Australia Package will integrate three existing emergency management grant programs, (Bushfire Mitigation Program, Natural Disaster Mitigation Program, and National Emergency Volunteer Support Fund) to support building flood levees and firebreaks, help local government meet their emergency management responsibilities, support the work of volunteers in emergency management, and build partnerships with business and community groups to improve their ability to respond to emergencies. More than $12.8 million will be spent during the next four years to help states and territories lease additional firefighting aircraft for longer periods during wildfire seasons.

"The government is not only providing additional funding, but we are also streamlining the administration of various programs to release even more funds for grassroots disaster resilience projects," McClelland said.

For more information, visit the Emergency Management Australia Web site.

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