Australia and NZ announce joint Pacific Cyber cooperation

PORT MORESBY (AUST/NZ GOVT) – New Zealand and Australian Ministers for Foreign Affairs has announced a joint commitment to partner with Pacific Island countries to enhance our collective cyber resilience.

Australia and New Zealand reaffirm our commitment to work with Pacific Island countries to support an open, free and secure internet that drives economic growth, protects national security and promotes international stability.

The Boe Declaration, endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in September, highlighted cyber security as an emerging security challenge for the region and recognised the need to maximise the protections and opportunities for Pacific infrastructure and peoples in the digital age.

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Marise Payne, announced a $9 million (US$6.5 million) expansion to Australia’s Cyber Cooperation Programme over four years, following the launch of a National Cyber Security Centre in Papua New Guinea, bringing Australia’s total investment in cyber cooperation to $38.4 million (US$28 million) to 2022.

“We will continue to work with regional partners to strengthen cybercrime prevention, prosecution and cooperation; and enhance cyber incident response capability,” said Minister Payne.

New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs  Winston Peters MP underscored that New Zealand was committed to lifting its capacity-building support for Pacific Island partners.

“New Zealand’s increased, re-oriented development program recognises the emerging challenges facing the Pacific, and New Zealand is committed to helping address these through its Pacific Reset,” said Minister Peters.

“New Zealand was pleased to partner with Australia and Papua New Guinea to support cyber security capacity for APEC Leaders Week – and beyond – and we want to continue this collaborative approach across the region.”

New Zealand’s engagement in the Pacific will include CERT NZ working closely with cyber security teams across the region to build resilience and cyber awareness.

This work will support the Pacific Cyber Security Operational Network (PaCSON), launched in Brisbane on 30 April 2018 with 14 foundation member countries from the Pacific. PaCSON is a network of government-designated cyber security incident response officials, empowering them to share threat information, tools, techniques and ideas, to enhance our collective capacity to respond to operational cyber threats.

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