Defining critical infrastructure

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The 2023 Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy (the Strategy)​​ defines critical infrastructure as​:

those physical facilities, supply chains, information technologies and communication networks, which if destroyed, degraded or rendered unavailable for an extended period, would significantly impact the social or economic wellbeing of the nation, or affect Australia’s ability to conduct national defence and ensure national security.​

Critical infrastructure includes:

  • Communications
  • Financial services and markets
  • Data storage or processing
  • Defence industry
  • Higher education and research
  • Energy
  • Food and grocery
  • Health care and medical
  • Space technology
  • Transport
  • Water and sewerage

These are the assets and services that underpin our society and on which we rely for our everyday business and lives.

Our national security, economy and general wellbeing can be negatively impacted if any of our critical infrastructure is damaged and unavailable, owing to, for example a natural disaster, terrorist attack or interference from a foreign actor. ​​

Prolonged and widespread failure in the energy sector could, for example, result in:

  • shortages or destruction of essential medical supplies
  • instability in the supply of food and groceries
  • impacts to water supply and sanitation
  • impacts to telecommunications networks, leaving Australians unable to communicate easily with family and loved ones
  • disruptions to transport, traffic management systems and fuel
  • reduced services or shutdown of the banking, finance and retail sectors
  • an inability of businesses and governments to function.

We have already experienced cyber-attacks on government networks and in our transport, education and health sectors, and felt the impact of natural disasters on our critical infrastructure.

In response, the government is strengthening the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018 (the SOCI Act) ​and enhancing regulatory frameworks to better prepare, protect and respond to ​threats to our critical infrastructure. ​​​See ​C​ritical infrastructure​ for more information.

The Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy

The Australian Government has produced the 2023 Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy to direct its work with critical infrastructure entities and all levels of government to enhance the security and resilience of Australia's ​critical infrastructure.

The Strategy sets out:

  • an overarching vision for critical infrastructure
  • how changes in the operating​ environment of critical infrastructure impact on critical infrastructure security and resilience
  • how the Strategy complement existing work across government to achieve its objectives.

Check Resour​ces for a copy of the current Strategy.

Enhancing the Trusted Information Sharing Network (TISN)

The TISN promotes engagement with government at all levels, greater cross-sector engagement and increased membership within organisations, within critical infrastructure sectors and across the network as a whole.

To enhance the network, we will improve network activity, administration and membership. The CISC​ ​will begin a program of work to upskill network members, both within and across sectors.

Find out more about the ​TISN.​