Optus will partner with Macquarie University to create a $10 million cyber security hub, providing professional development, research and consultancy services to Australian businesses and governments.
The move comes hard on the heels of the announcement, late last year, that the Commonwealth Bank would invest $1.6 billion in a partnership with University of New South Wales aimed at increasing the number of trained cyber security professionals in Australia.
Both initiatives reflect the growing concern among Australian policy makers and businesses about skills shortages in an area of growing importance to all sections of the community.
The federal government has estimated that Australia will need another 9,100 cyber security professionals over the next 5 years – though some say those people are needed right now.
Such shortages are not confined to Australia. Recent estimates by Cisco have suggested that the global shortage in the area could be as high as 1 million. But there are concerns among policy makers that Australia is not moving as quickly as other countries to fill the skills gap.
The CWU welcomes the investment in skills development represented by the Optus initiative. But more such investment still needs to take place across the wider industry, including in traditional telecommunications technical skills, if shortages are to be avoided.