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Wednesday, 28 March 2018
Page: 3175


Mr HAWKE (MitchellAssistant Minister for Home Affairs) (19:28): I thank the House and I thank all members for their contributions. In particular I say to the opposition member for Canberra: thank you for your contributions. Many good points have been made in this debate, and the government is aware of the need to continue this process of working together in the House to ensure that we do take these matters most seriously and cooperate with and take advantage of the experience of members in this House in so many of the important fields of national security to ensure we have world-leading legislation and world's best practice in our security laws.

Critical infrastructure is integral to the prosperity of our nation, and we know that security and resilient infrastructure underpins the functioning of Australian society. It ensures that we have continuous access to essential services for everyday life—food, water, energy, communications—and the Security of Critical Infrastructure Bill 2018 supports Australian government efforts to safeguard Australia's critical infrastructure. It will supplement existing federal, state and territory regulations and ensure the government has the necessary powers to protect Australia from the national security risks of sabotage, espionage and coercion stemming from malicious foreign involvement in our critical infrastructure.

The bill reflects consultation with states and territories and with industry stakeholders. Importantly, it also incorporates all nine recommendations made by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

I wish to thank the committee for its comprehensive review of the bills. I'm pleased to say the government has accepted all of the nine recommendations. The bill currently before the House incorporates the amendments to the bill that were necessary to give effect to all of the committee's recommendations. In particular, I want to thank the chair, the member for Canning, again, and the member for Holt, who is here as well, for their excellent cooperation in driving this committee process, but I thank all of the members who made their contribution today—government members, opposition members; the member for Isaacs, the member for Eden-Monaro—all of the people who've made a contribution. It is vital that we work together on this matter and it's vital that we do recognise that this is a journey that we're on. We will continue to put forward good quality legislation and have the committee drive improvements to Australia's laws.

The Security of Critical Infrastructure Bill aligns with the government's intention to continue to cooperate and collaborate with all levels of government in Australia and regulators, owners and operators of critical infrastructure. It will strike that appropriate regulatory balance by acknowledging shared responsibility for managing national security risks while empowering the Commonwealth to intervene to mitigate a risk where existing regimes cannot be used. The bill will of course allow the government to take the steps necessary to strengthen the security and resilience of our critical infrastructure. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.