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Turnbull Appoints New Tech Leaders, Invests in Cyber Security

Australian Government Focus on Cyber Security & IT Innovation

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has selected his ministry for the new parliamentary term, including several changes, notably technology positions in innovation and cyber security. These changes are highlighted by the inception of the cyber security minister position, filled by Dan Tehan of the Liberal Party of Australia.

Tehan, along with a cyber ambassador and head cyber security adviser Alastair MacGibbon, will work to further the country's $A240m cyber security plan that was unveiled this April.

This plan was conceived with the goal of enabling the sharing of threat information between businesses and government agencies by way of the Australian Cyber Security Centre and new installations in state capitals. In addition, the government plans to invest $A136m in cybercrime investigation and intelligence capacity, awarding grants to small businesses that boost security.

Turnbull also moved Greg Hunt from environment minister to industry innovation and science minister. Hunt replaces Christopher Pyne who will now serve as minister of defence industry. Hunt will receive assistance from the Republican coalition's Craig Laundy.

These changes come as a result of criticism for failing to promote its innovation policy to the wider population, alienating many who see these changes as job-killers rather than potential fortune-makers.

Hunt and Laundy have a tall order ahead of them, as they will need to push through legislation enabling equity-based crowdfunding. This bill would allow publicly unlisted companies with turnover and gross assets of less than $A5m to raise up to that amount from individuals in return for equity in the company.

Turnbull does not appear to take these changes lightly, hoping that they will help to bring Australia into the forefront of the IT world, on par with major players in Europe and the United States.

If these changes take hold and are effective, we may see more tech startups and venture capitalists coming to Australia, boosting the GDP and economic power of a country that currently ranks 19th in GDP.