Announcement by the Foreign Minister, Senator the Hon. Marise Payne
The world’s premier summit on emerging, critical and cyber technologies will be established and hosted in Sydney in 2021 to help drive global discussion on the advances that are shaping our economies, security and daily lives.
The Australian Government is supporting the establishment of the Sydney Dialogue, which will be held for the first time virtually in the second half of 2021. While significant international conferences and dialogues exist for traditional areas of security and economics, there is currently a gap for political leaders, industry experts, academics and civil society representatives to meet and discuss the most pressing issues around cyber and critical technology. This annual, high-level dialogue will fill that gap.
With cyber and critical technology increasingly affecting all aspects of international relations and foreign policy, the Australian Government is committed to strengthening understanding of these issues to ensure their applications are positive for our society, economy and security.
With the world on the cusp of transformational advances in technology, it is vital that countries like Australia take a lead in creating an environment that makes the most of the enormous promise of these advances, while avoiding or mitigating their risks and negative uses.
Creating this environment is not something any nation can do alone. It is essential that the international community – including governments, industry and civil society – work together to harness the benefits for all of humankind. We want the design, creation and use of technology to reflect our values.
The Australian Government will contribute $1.5 million dollars to support the Sydney Dialogue, which will be hosted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
While the Dialogue will take a global perspective, it will have a particular focus on the Indo-Pacific, and next year’s inaugural meeting will have India as a core topic. Australia and India agreed in June to deepen cooperation in these areas, including through the Australia-India Framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cyber‑Enabled Critical Technologies Cooperation, which I signed with my Indian counterpart, External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar. Prime Ministers Morrison and Modi also discussed the critical role of technology in their virtual summit in June.
This Arrangement is complemented by the Australia-India Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership (AICCTP) grants program, which will deepen practical cooperation on cyber and critical technology issues in pursuit of our countries’ shared vision of an open, free, rules-based Indo-Pacific region. I can also announce today that applications for the first round of grants under the AICCTP are now open.
The Australian Government is particularly committed to strengthening understanding of cyber and critical technology issues in the Indo-Pacific region, to ensure they promote and enable a safe, secure and prosperous region.
We are therefore pleased also to support the establishment of the Quad Tech Network to promote regional Track II research and public dialogue on cyber and critical technology issues.
The Quad Tech Network will support universities and think tanks in Australia (the National Security College at the Australian National University), the United States (Center for a New American Security), Japan (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies) and India (Observer Research Foundation), to develop research and recommendations on the shared challenges facing Australia and Indo-Pacific partners in the cyber and technology environment. These research papers will be published in late 2020 and early 2021.
Together, these initiatives will strengthen Australia’s reputation as a global leader on cyber and critical technology issues.