Townsville will be at the forefront of cyber security capability development and innovation with a new cyber security node to be established in the city.

The node will be part of AustCyber’s national network of cyber security innovation nodes and will be developed through a partnership between AustCyber, the Townsville City Council, and Queensland Government.

Mayor Jenny Hill said that establishing the AustCyber node in Townsville was a key component in delivering the Smart Townsville strategy.

“Our Smart Townsville strategy is about supporting businesses today while creating the conditions for the business of tomorrow. Establishing this node will support the development of local cyber security capability to ensure the Townsville industry has access to cyber security in the same way businesses in the major capital cities do.

It’s also another major drawcard to attract new businesses to Townsville. This node, together with the North Queensland Regional Data Centre and Smart Precinct NQ, will provide a strong foundation for high growth companies to establish and prosper in the region. This will be further enhanced by the upcoming launch of cyber security training at the TAFE Queensland Pimlico campus,“ added Mayor Jenny Hill. 

Queensland Minister for Innovation Kate Jones said, “cyber security is only going to become more important to businesses into the future which is why it’s important to build our local industry. The Node will connect and upskill Queensland cyber companies. This means growth and jobs. But also security and success for local businesses.

The cyber security industry has the potential to almost triple in size over the next decade, with revenues expected to increase from $2 billion in 2018 to $6 billion by 2026. There are opportunities for Queensland companies to grow to respond to local demand as well as export opportunities.

“In particular there are growth opportunities where cyber security supports priority industries, including defense, MedTech, mining technology and services, advanced manufacturing, food, and agriculture.”

AustCyber chief executive officer Michelle Price said the organisation was focused on growing a globally competitive cyber security sector for Australia.

“As a local presence for AustCyber, the node will ensure Townsville and North Queensland benefits from the activities outlined in Australia’s cyber security sector competitiveness plan, supporting sustained industry growth around servicing domestic cyber security needs while exporting capabilities to the world. Queensland is the first within AustCyber’s national network of nodes to establish three separate node locations, with three node managers working in partnership across the state. These nodes will give the Sunshine State a clear economic advantage and strengthen the knowledge economy, particularly in the priority areas of defense, advanced manufacturing, health, and education,” said Michelle Price, CEO, AustCyber.

TAFE Queensland Director of Education and Training (north region) Ian Smythe said cyber security was one of the world’s fastest growing industries and the node will ensure Townsville keeps pace. 

“In today’s modern world nearly all information is stored digitally and the risk of hacking has never been greater. There are strong job prospects for cyber security professionals and TAFE Queensland’s Certificate IV in Cyber Security will help more people in Townsville gain the skills they need to protect organisations against malicious cyber activity. One local organisation looking to leverage off the establishment of the Townsville cyber security node is The Oasis, which supports the transition of former members of the ADF into the wider community,” added Ian Smythe. 

The Oasis chairperson, Lieutenant General John Caligari (retired), said veterans would make a natural and significant contribution to the development of a cybersecurity capability in Townsville.

“A memorandum of understanding between The Oasis Townsville and TAFE Queensland is currently being finalised and will strongly support veterans employment and Townsville businesses in the growing need for cyber security,” Lt. Gen Caligari said.