Critical infrastructure summit scheduled

A critical infrastructure summit for business and government will be held in Melbourne on April 2.

The federal government has called the summit to discuss how to protect Australia's critical infrastructure from a possible terrorist attack.

Speaking to the Australian Industry Group (AIG) in Melbourne today Attorney-General Daryl Williams said the summit will enable businesses to work with government to protect vital physical and electronic infrastructure.

"No single business and no single level of government has sole ownership or control over our critical infrastructure; for this reason it is essential that there is cooperation between business and government," he said.

"We must be vigilant, we must be alert to suspicious activity and we must take sensible precautions to ensure that our businesses and our utilities are as safe as they can be.

"As business managers you have a responsibility to protect your information infrastructure from attack; this means reviewing your risk management plans to include the possibility of acts of terrorism."

Williams said no computer information system existed in isolation and a "problem in one area can have cascading effect across the whole economy".

He said the summit will give business an opportunity to provide real input into how the information-sharing network with government will operate.

The government established a joint business-government task force last year including telecommunications, utilities and banking to combat the cyberterrorist threat against critical infrastructure.

An alert scheme has also been established in conjunction with the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCert) to warn of attacks and potential vulnerabilities and Williams said it will be operational by mid-year.

He said businesses need to cooperate to identify common problems and to maintain an open and constructive dialogue with governmentAfter September 11, Williams said, the government committed $1.3 billion over five years to strengthen Australia's domestic security as well as a further $100 million after the Bali bombings.

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