Ports Australia is encouraged by consultation from Government after participating in Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee’s latest public hearing on the Critical Infrastructure Bill review, but more is needed for proper co-design of security requirements under the Bill which better align with the industry.
The importance of Australia’s supply chain for our livelihood makes it an attractive target and it’s vital we remain vigilant and prepared for the evolving nature of security risks.
Earlier this week, Ports Australia and its members met with the Aviation and Maritime Division at the Department of Home Affairs for a collaborative discussion on the Critical Infrastructure reforms. Ports Australia appreciates the Government’s appetite to further secure our nation’s infrastructure assets and their consultation on the revision of the Critical Infrastructure Bill thus far.
Ports Australia was joined by a range of representatives from the supply chain, transport, water, and utility sectors as witnesses at yesterday’s (Thursday 8 July 2021) public hearing Chaired by Senator James Paterson. Witnesses shared their perspectives on the Bill’s proposed review and how it can be pragmatically rethought to support how our industries operate, rather than creating unnecessary red tape for key supply chain players.
At the hearing, Ports Australia’s CEO, Mike Gallacher said the industry will support the government’s work once its current weaknesses are addressed.
‘We want to support this legislation, we will support it, but we want to see it work and that’s the key, we need to see it work… there is a glaring weakness in the legislation that has a real confusion as to who is actually responsible for the delivery of port services and we need to get it fixed otherwise the only people who are going to take advantage of it are going to be bad people,’ Mike said.
More work is needed to revise the Bill so it recognizes the intricacies of ports, like who is responsible for each moving part in their operations, what defines an infrastructure asset is critical, and how we can better co-design the security requirements for these assets so they align with operations.
To summarise, Ports Australia is calling for:
• Clearer definitions for responsibilities of entities, especially when recognizing that it should be port facility operators (stevedores for example) who are critical port assets, NOT the port operator. This also extends to critical infrastructure assets where the definition of responsibilities must be clarified (concerning assets like intermodal terminals).
• The definition of critical infrastructure assets to be clarified so we can identify which assets are captured as critical (intermodal terminals for example).
• Continued industry engagement on the co-design of security requirements that properly align with the processes of supply chain operations.