Thursday, 9 February 2023

Questions without notice and ministers statements

Security cameras


Security cameras

David LIMBRICK (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (12:07): (26) My question is for the Attorney-General. There has been wide reporting this morning regarding an audit of security cameras initiated by federal Shadow Minister for Cyber Security Senator James Paterson. Since 2019 there have been growing concerns regarding the integrity of Chinese company Hikvision and their security cameras. In 2020 our AUKUS partners restricted the sale of Hikvision and Dahua cameras. These two companies are closely linked to the Chinese Communist Party, and there are significant security risks that information could be transmitted to the CCP. Some institutions such as the NDIA and the Australian War Memorial have already made the decision to replace these cameras, and I note this morning it was reported that over 900 cameras were identified at a federal level and that the government is moving to remove those. My question for the Attorney-General is: will she commit to asking OVIC to conduct a security audit at a state government level on where these cameras might be placed in the public sector in Victoria?

Jaclyn SYMES (Northern Victoria – Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (12:08): I thank Mr Limbrick for his question. Many of the matters that you have raised would fall into the portfolio responsibility of Minister Pearson, as government services is responsible for many of the IT security- and cybersecurity-type initiatives that the government is responsible for, and there is a unit within DPC that report to him in relation to that. Actually, it has probably moved in the MOG change for government services. But I do have a scheduled meeting coming up with the commissioner for OVIC, and I am more than happy to have a conversation with him about the issues that you have raised and to come back to you.

David LIMBRICK (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (12:09): I thank the Attorney for committing to have that conversation. If an audit is conducted, will the government commit to releasing how many of these cameras have actually been installed in public institutions and to getting rid of them?

Jaclyn SYMES (Northern Victoria – Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (12:09): There is a bit too much speculation in relation to the commitment that you are seeking from me. But I understand the intention of your question, and I am more than happy to have conversations about that.