Dr Paul Barnes
Head of Risk and Resilience
Australian Strategic Policy Institute
11:50 AM Security of Critical Infrastructure Bill 2018: Asset Security from Natural Hazards to Foreign Interference
Passed by Federal Parliament on the 28th of March and going into effect 3 months after receiving Royal Assent, the Bill specifically targets critical electricity, gas, ports and water assets but can also include assets outside of these categories. It is unclear exactly how the Bill will affect asset owner/ operators. The legislation seeks to address key issues identified by the Federal government. These include: gaps in information on legal and beneficial ownership of critical assets; the need to ensure effective risk assessment is applied specifically in relations to potential disruptions from sabotage, espionage or foreign coercion; and the importance of insuring an ability to apply appropriate mitigation of threats and vulnerabilities and thus address national security outcomes. As a result key obligations on Responsible Entities, or Direct Interest Holders will include:
- Responsible Entities, or Direct Interest Holders, must provide initial reports on identified assets within 6 months of the Act’s commencement, or when designated as being a critical.
- Direct Interest Holders must report “interest and control information”.
- In addition, if it is determined that there is significant risk surrounding an asset and efforts by asset owner/operators to eliminate vulnerabilities or assessments are unsatisfactory, the Minister can direct corrective steps are taken to protect a particular asset.