Letter to the Prime Minister and Minister for Cybersecurity
The Hon. Anthony Albanese
Prime Minister of Australia
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600
CC: The Hon. Clare O’Neil, Minister for Cybersecurity,
Air Marshal Darren Goldie AM CSC, National Cyber Security Coordinator
Dear Prime Minister
We write expressing our serious concerns about cyber security risks to Australian charities and NFPs.
Every organisation in Australia is aware of the growing threat posed by bad actors seeking to exploit illegal access to information.
For businesses, including SMEs, your government has provided various programs and incentives to promote better data security and preparedness. Most of these incentives are in the form of tax concessions and grants (e.g. The Cyber Security Business Connect and Protect Program, the Cyber Wardens program for small business).
The 2023 – 2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy discussion paper does not mention charities, not-for-profits, or community organisations, although it specifically mentions business 12 times and SMEs twice.
Governments across Australia do not always recognise the size and nature of the charities and not-for-profit sector. Charities alone employ over 1.3 million workers or 10.5% of the Australian workforce, and contribute over 5% to GDP in our annual turnover of $190 billion. Perhaps more importantly in the context of cybersecurity, charities hold extensive personal and financial information from millions of Australians.
Despite this massive footprint in our economy and in our lives, charities and not-for-profits have not been provided with the support they need to deal with an increasingly sophisticated level of cyber-attacks. Unlike business, charities spend every spare dollar they can find on serving their communities. Allocating more resources to strengthen cyber security would mean reducing the level of services available in our communities. Many charities and NFPs struggle to withdraw services, even though cybersecurity is clearly an important priority.
There will be cyber-attacks on charities and there is real potential for certain kinds of attacks to significantly damage confidence and trust in our sector. Cyber-attacks in our sector could also have devastating impacts on individuals and communities.
We ask that you consider providing increased support for charities across Australia to be able to review their current cybersecurity preparedness and to invest in better data security and protection. This is no more than what your government is already providing to business.
Leaving charities to fend for themselves in dealing with the threat posed by global cyber-security attacks is not an acceptable policy approach.
We look forward to your response.
Rev Tim Costello AO, Chair, Community Council for Australia
David Crosbie, CEO, Community Council for Australia
22nd of August 2023
Community Council for Australia Board of Directors 2023
Rev Tim Costello CCA Chair
Claire Robbs CCA Deputy Chair and CEO, Life Without Barriers
Louise Baxter CEO, Starlight Children’s Foundation
Jon Bisset CEO, Community Broadcasting Association of Australia
Sharon Callister CEO, Mission Australia
Anna Draffin CEO, Public Interest Journalism Initiative
Deirdre Cheers CEO, Barnardos Australia
Richard Mussell CEO, RSPCA Australia
Mark Pearce CEO, Volunteering Australia
Marc Purcell CEO, Australian Council for International Development
Suzie Riddell CEO, Social Ventures Australia
Nicola Stokes General Manager, AMP Foundation
The Community Council for Australia is an independent non-political member-based organisation dedicated to building flourishing communities by enhancing the extraordinary work undertaken by the charities and not-for-profit sector in Australia. CCA seeks to change the way governments, communities and not-for-profits relate to one another. It does so by providing a national voice and facilitation for sector leaders to act on common and shared issues affecting the contribution, performance and viability of NFPs in Australia. This includes:
· promoting the values of the sector and the need for reform
· influencing and shaping relevant policy agendas
· improving the way people invest in the sector
· measuring and reporting success in a way that clearly articulates value
· building collaboration and sector efficiency
· informing, educating, and assisting organisations to build sustainable futures
· providing a catalyst for the sector to work in partnership with government, business and the broader Australian community to achieve positive change.
Our success will drive a more sustainable and effective charities and not-for-profit sector in Australia making an increased contribution to the well-being and resilience of all our communities.