Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy
The Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, launched the new Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy on 21 May 2015. The strategy consists of a policy statement and a plan for practical implementation and aims to ensure the continued operation of critical infrastructure in the face of all hazards.
The Australian, State and Territory governments define critical infrastructure as:
‘those physical facilities, supply chains, information technologies and communication networks which, if destroyed, degraded or rendered unavailable for an extended period, would significantly impact the social or economic wellbeing of the nation or affect Australia’s ability to conduct national defence and ensure national security’.
In this context, ‘significantly’ means an event or incident that puts at risk public safety and confidence, threatens our economic security, harms Australia’s international competitiveness, or impedes the continuity of government and its services.
The aim of the Australian Government’s Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy is the continued operation of critical infrastructure in the face of all hazards. More resilient critical infrastructure will also help to support the continued provision of essential services (provided by critical infrastructure) to businesses, governments and the community, as well as to other critical infrastructure sectors.
The Australian Government’s policy approach to critical infrastructure recognises that:
- critical infrastructure is essential to Australia’s economic and social prosperity;
- resilient critical infrastructure plays an essential role in supporting broader community and disaster resilience;
- businesses and governments have a shared responsibility for the resilience of our critical infrastructure, requiring strong partnerships; and
- all States and Territories have their own critical infrastructure programs that best fit the operating environments and arrangements in each jurisdiction.
The Trusted Information Sharing Network
A key imperative of the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy is to have an effective business-government partnership with critical infrastructure owners and operators.
The Trusted Information Sharing Network (TISN) for Critical Infrastructure Resilience was established by the Australian Government in 2003. It is Australia's primary national engagement mechanism for business-government information sharing and resilience building initiatives on critical infrastructure resilience.
The TISN provides a secure environment for critical infrastructure owners and operators to regularly share information and cooperate within and across sectors to address security and business continuity challenges. The TISN is made up of:
- Seven Sector Groups (i.e. banking and finance, communications, energy, food chain, transport, water services and health),
- The Resilience Expert Advisory Group,
- The Oil and Gas Security Forum (a sub-group of the Energy Sector Group), and
- Cross-sectoral Interest Groups
The work of the TISN is also complemented by a range of business-government engagement mechanisms on broader national security policy issues.
The Critical Infrastructure Advisory Council (CIAC) oversees the groups of the TISN and advises the Attorney-General on the Australian Government’s approach to critical infrastructure resilience. Each of the Sector Groups, State and Territory governments, relevant Australian Government agencies, the Australian Local Government Association, and the National Counter-Terrorism Committee are represented on the CIAC.
Further information on the TISN can be found at TISN website (www.tisn.gov.au). The Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy can also be downloaded from this website.
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The Health Sector Group
The Department of Health works in partnership with owners and operators of critical health infrastructure by providing advice and secretariat support to the Health Sector Group (HSG).
The HSG’s primary role is to highlight specific health sector issues that may impact upon the safety and security of the health of the community and promote strategies for owners and operators of critical health infrastructure to be more resilient in the face of all hazards.
The HSG is chaired by Mr Patrick Tobin, Director of Policy at Catholic Health Australia, and comprises representatives of the owners and operators of health sector critical infrastructure.
The HSG holds face to face meetings twice a year, with teleconferences through the year. The membership of the HSG currently includes the following:
- Australia New Zealand Industrial Gas Association,
- Australian Government agencies (i.e. Attorney-General’s Department, Department of Health, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration),
- Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association,
- Australian Medical Association,
- Australian Private Hospital Association,
- Australian Red Cross Blood Service,
- Catholic Health Australia,
- Council of Ambulance Authorities,
- Medibank Health Solutions,
- Medical Technology Association of Australia,
- Medicines Australia, and
- Pathology Australia
To enable information sharing on critical infrastructure resilience and the work of the HSG beyond its members, a group of corresponding members has also been established. HSG corresponding members maintain an interest in health infrastructure work and include the following organisations:
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- Australia and New Zealand Burn Association,
- Australian Day Hospital Association,
- Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association,
- Australian Prudential Regulation Authority,
- Australian Self Medication Industry,
- Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association,
- IVD Australia,
- National Blood Authority,
- Pharmacy Guild of Australia, and
- Royal Flying Doctor Service