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Launch Stay Smart Online Week

JOURNALIST:

…Important week this week which business will be noting, but also can you reflect on some of the changes you're looking at in your portfolio?

FIFIELD:

Well there's a lot to do in my portfolio, obviously the continued roll-out of the NBN, that is critical, the blind spots program is critical for mobile phones where there's a lack of coverage in regional areas, and the Government's digital agenda to ensure that what Government does is more accessible.

Too often when Government designs its systems, its processes, it designs them on the basis of what suits Government rather than what suits the individual citizen. And importantly we've got a big emphasis on cyber safety and cyber security for kids which is one of the reasons why we have launched a commitment to introduce the Children's eSafety Commissioner which started on 1 July, and why today we're announcing a- really a program to raise awareness for businesses and individuals as to the risks that they face online, the risks that children face online, but also the risks that businesses face if they don't take action to secure their data, to secure their systems.

JOURNALIST:

Now the data retention laws are coming, obviously most of these with Attorney-Generals, but are the telephone companies- are there many companies ready to hold that data?

FIFIELD:

Well we do have a requirement that organisations retain data for two years. We have a situation where because of changing businesses practices organisations weren't keeping data for the same length of time that they previously had, and why that's important is for law enforcement agencies who may need to access metadata from time to time. We haven't really changed the circumstances in which law enforcement agencies can access data, but what has changed and what will change is the length of period which organisations have to keep that data. We've applied some measures to assist those organisations with transitional costs so there's a fund, and those details are still being worked through as to how those funds can be accessed.

JOURNALIST:

[Talks over, indistinct] has Optus indicated they're ready for this week? Are they ready? Have they said to you they're ready?

FIFIELD:

Look I haven't spoken directly to anyone [indistinct] about this. [Indistinct] this is primarily something for which the Attorney-General's portfolio has carriage, but I'll be working closely with organisations to assist them where I can.

JOURNALIST:

There's been an increased focus on children being radicalised online. Will you be involved in those counter-terror talks later in the week- radicalisation talks that the Government and the Prime Minister is holding?

FIFIELD:               

Look if my input is sought then I'll stand ready to assist. But I think there could well be a role for someone such as the Children's eSafety Commissioner. A lot of skill, a lot of expertise is held in that office, and as I indicated earlier the Children's eSafety Commissioner, his remit does expand a little broader than his title might suggest.

JOURNALIST:

Minister the big banks are all supporters of this program [indistinct]. What's the interest to banks in this Stay Smart Online campaign?

FIFIELD:               

Well it's important for banks that their customers, many of whom are small, medium, micro-sized businesses, have good systems, have good processes. The banks are corporate citizens, and the banks want to make sure that their customers aren't vulnerable to these sorts of criminal activities.

[Cross-talk]

JOURNALIST:

Can I ask you as Minister what your approach to ABC and SBS is specifically given the last funding cuts in 2014?

FIFIELD:

Well my approach is that I recognise that the ABC and SBS are important institutions, that they do have a strong [indistinct] support in the community and that they play a role. It's important that those organisations are well resourced, they have been well resourced under this Government, and they'll continue to be well resourced.

JOURNALIST:

Is that finished now? Are you revisiting any of those funding allocations from 2014?

FIFIELD:

Well the budget for the ABC and SBS is laid out, but we will abstain (*) the discussions about the next [indistinct] in the future.

JOURNALIST:

You supported Malcolm Turnbull to become Prime Minister, are you disappointed in the Newspoll result today that shows yes while he's personally popular the Coalition hasn't gone in front of Labor?

FIFIELD:               

Look I think Malcolm has had an extremely good start as Prime Minister. He has I think got a good tone (*) and a good way of talking with the Australian public. As a Government we want to be in the business of explaining to the public what are the challenges that face us as a nation and what the solutions to those are, and I think Malcolm has done a good job of that and will continue to do a good job.

JOURNALIST:

What about how he's communicating with party members? He was laughed at on the weekend at the New South Wales Conference.

FIFIELD:

Oh I've been to many part forums in my time and one of the great things about the Liberal Party is that people have the opportunity to express themselves. And look we're a robust party and that sometimes happens in a bit of a robust friendship.

[Cross-talk]

MITCH FIFIELD:

Sorry?

JOURNALIST:

Are there some thoughts for Mr Abbott today?

MITCH FIFIELD:

Oh look we want to work well with all of our colleagues, and we're focused on the people's business, and that's important I think for all of us in Parliament to keep our eyes on the reason we're here.

Thanks very much.

Media contact: Luisa Anderson | 0417 309 812 | Luisa.anderson [at] communications.gov.au