A joint public accounts and audit committee hearing has revealed that the areas that Home Affairs are responsible for have tripled, while they have received no additional funding to cover the increased workload. This in turn has meant budget cuts, with the department losing 600 employees in a year and more than $2 billion in cost-cutting.
Home Affairs was created by then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2017. Peter Dutton was the first minister in charge of the department, which brought together agencies including ASIO and the Australian Border Force.
The report found that “the baseline budget situation for the department has become misaligned with its core and far-reaching activities related to keeping Australia safe.”
“A large gap between funding and operation requirements is forcing the department to make tradeoffs between risk tolerance, service delivery quality, and cost.”
In addition Home Affairs’ cyber systems are vulnerable to hacking and frontline officers are not properly trained. Home Affairs is hoping that IT system modernisation and a rebuild of internal capability will allow it to reduce contractor numbers “over time”.
The Department of Home Affairs brings together Australia’s federal law enforcement, national and transport security, criminal justice, emergency management, multicultural affairs, settlement services and immigration and border-related functions, working together to keep Australia safe.
If you have any concerns about your organisation’s cybersecurity, or would like a confidential chat about how you can keep your business safe, contact us.
Author: Lisa Seltzer, Agilient Consultant