The Coalition has announced it will spend $10.5 million on a National Cyberbullying Taskforce as part of its wider cyber-safety policy.
The new spending comes in addition to the $90 million the party has already announced it would spend on cybersafety if elected on 21 August.
The $10.5 million will be spent over four years to address concerns about the use of social media sites by introducing a national education campaign to combat bullying and cyber-bullying.
According to policy documents, the education campaign will consist of a National Cyberbullying Taskforce comprising internet industry representatives, education stakeholders, parents and students and will develop a code for social networking sites, recommending a universal system for children to report cases of cyber-bullying.
It will also allow principals to deal with cyber-bullying issues in schools, develop national reporting requirements for all schools in relation to school bullying, both in and out of school grounds, and expand research into cyber-bullying.
The Labor party, though much derided for its proposed mandatory ISP-level filter, had engaged in cybersafety education through initiatives such as the National Cyber Security Awareness Week.
In addition, Tony Smith announced at the Australian Computer Society’s (ACS) ICT Policy Forum, it would spend $90 million on PC-based Internet filtering software and the expansion of Australian Communication and Media Authority’s (ACMA) cyber-safety outreach program, its current cyber-safety portal, and establishing a hotline.
The Liberal party claims the free PC-based filter will access a wider range of content than a static ISP-level filter, including, keyword blocking, site blacklisting, age appropriate settings, blocking peer-to-peer downloading networks, chat rooms, instant messages, FTP sites, online forums and email, and potentially providing email or SMS alerts to parents of potential cyber-bullying.
The ACMA’s Cybersafety Outreach program consists of free, live presentations to students, parents and teachers, including, teacher professional development, internet safety awareness programs and a pre-service teacher training program.
The Coalition will also establish a Ministerial Advisory Committee on Social Networking to ensure that operators of social networking sites work with the government to limit potential harm and encourage international social networking companies to establish a regulatory presence in Australia.