Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil announced on Friday morning that Air Marshal Darren Goldie would take up the role from July 3.

Mr Albanese said he was chosen for his proven record of leadership and was an "outstanding choice".

The position is tasked with leading national cyber security policy and the coordination of responses to major cyber incidents, such as those affecting Optus and Medibank last year and law firm HWL Ebsworth in recent months.

The major Australian law firm, which has clients at either commercial or government level in every state or territory, is investigating a data breach believed to be committed by Russian hackers.

Ms O'Neil said the former Coalition government had left the policy area "an absolute mess" when she came to government.

"We had no co-ordination of cyber activity across the government. We were about five years behind where we should have been on public policy," Ms O'Neil said.

"A really important part of the jigsaw puzzle is being put in place with the appointment of Air Marshal Goldie is Australia's first national cyber co-ordinator.

"He will drive the work across government in cyber security with force and velocity that is needed to meet what is a very substantial and seriously growing challenge for our nation."

Asked whether the new boss will provide advice to businesses over whether to pay ransoms or not, Ms O'Neil said the government's position was clear.

"The Australian government's clear position is people should not pay ransom," she said.

"It is important we deprive these cyber scumbags of the proceeds of the crime."

Air Marshal Goldie has served in the Royal Australian Air Force for more than 30 years and most recently as Air Commander Australia.

He has led co-ordination of Defence responses to natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Liberal spokesperson for cyber security James Paterson said the Coalition welcomes the appointment and would offer bipartisan support for the new position.

But he added the role could have been appointed months earlier in line with Labor's initial promise.

"If the minister had acted sooner, the co-ordinator would have been in place before the HWL Ebsworth cyber attack, which appears to be one of the most serious data breaches affecting sensitive, and potentially classified, government information," Senator Paterson said.

"The first task of the co-ordinator must be to get to the bottom of what government data has been lost in the HWL Ebsworth attack, the implications of the breach and how to mitigate them, and steps being taken to inform and support affected parties.

"Given the Albanese government's failure to be transparent about the nature, extent and impact of the attack, it falls to the new co-ordinator to conduct Australia's cyber response in an open and transparent manner."


Excerpt from article by Sarah Basford Canales from The Canberra Times, read the full article here.