Leading online safety expert Alastair MacGibbon has been appointed to the role of Children’s e-Safety Commissioner, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher.
“The appointment of Alastair MacGibbon as the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner is a further milestone in the work of the Abbott Government to help keep Australian children safe online,” said Mr Fletcher.
“This announcement follows the Parliament earlier this month passing the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act 2015, legislation which establishes the office of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner as an independent statutory office within the Australian Communications and Media Authority and grants powers to that office.
“I am delighted that we have been able to fill this critical role with someone who has deep expertise and more than 15 years of experience in the field of online safety and security. Mr MacGibbon worked for 15 years as an Agent with the Australian Federal Police, including an appointment as founding Director of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre. Along with a number of private sector roles including as Senior Director of Trust, Safety and Customer Support at eBay, Mr MacGibbon has been a Director of the Centre for Internet Safety at the University of Canberra since 2011.
“The Coalition went to the 2013 election with a commitment to establish a Children’s e-Safety Commissioner and to establish an effective complaints system, backed by legislation, to get harmful material targeted at Australian children down fast from large social media sites.
“Mr MacGibbon was appointed from a strong field of candidates following a public call for nominations and a thorough selection process,” Mr Fletcher said.
“I look forward to working with industry, child welfare organisations, law enforcement agencies and of course Australian children and parents as we work to protect children from the growing problem of cyberbullying,” Mr MacGibbon said.
“Research has found that over a 12 month period, one in five Australian children aged eight to seventeen are exposed to cyberbullying, and the overwhelming message from the Australian public is that we must do more to protect Australian kids online – it will be the mission of this office to do just that,” he said.
The Abbott Government announced funding of $10 million in the 2014-15 Budget to implement its Enhancing Online Safety for Children policy, including $7.5 million to assist schools to access accredited online safety programmes; $2.4 million to establish and operate the Office of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner; and $100,000 to support Australian-based research and information campaigns on online safety.
Following Mr MacGibbon’s appointment, the next priorities will be to commence the operation of the Office of the Commissioner, which will include significant resources transferred in from other areas of the Australian public service, and then to implement the operation of the effective complaints system to get harmful material targeted at Australian children down fast from large social media sites, which is expected to occur over the course of this year.