Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy

NSW benefits from critical infrastructure (CI) that provides secure and reliable essential services, such as food, water, energy, transport, telecommunications and health care. The CI of NSW is exposed to an increasing number of threats, hazards, shocks and stresses. Disruptions to critical infrastructure can result in loss of life, negative economic impact and harm to communities, including psychological distress.  More frequent natural disasters of greater magnitude , and a heightened risk profile in relation to criminal threats including cyber-attack ,  mean NSW’s infrastructure and organisations must be more resilient than ever. The NSW Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy, released on 13 September 2018, encourages leaders in business and government to support the NSW community by improving critical infrastructure resilience (CIR) across NSW. 

The CIR strategy promotes NSW critical infrastructure that can:

  • withstand shock events to continue operating; or
  • be returned to service as soon as possible after any disruption; and
  • respond to long-term stresses.
A focus on physical infrastructure alone will not achieve this. This strategy has three outcomes:

  • Improved infrastructure resilience which is focussed on the resilience planned for, designed and built into assets, network and systems (resistance, reliability, redundancy, enhancing response and recovery).
  • Improved organisational resilience which refers to the resilience of the organisations, personnel and processes supporting the infrastructure to supply the service (organisational resilience, enterprise risk management, business impact analysis, preparedness, response, continuity and recovery).
  • Improved community resilience which focuses on the role the community plays in building and maintaining its own resilience while contributing to CIR. Building resilience within the community requires an integrated approach involving both government and business (information and warnings, managing service disruptions, community partnerships).
This is a flow chart that shows community resilience, organisational resilience and infrastructure resilience.
Figure 1: CIR is enhanced through infrastructure, organisational and community resilience

To achieve these outcomes, priority is given to:

  • Partnering for shared responsibility around critical infrastructure resilience;
  • Preparing for all hazards, not just the ones we can foresee; and
  • Providing continued service from critical infrastructure with minimal disruption.
The benefits of the strategy are identified as:

Key Terminology

  • Critical infrastructure (CI) is the assets, systems and networks required to maintain the security, health and safety, and social and economic prosperity of NSW. These are underpinned by the organisations and people that support them.
  • Infrastructure Providers include any organisation that provides NSW critical infrastructure, including privately owned organisations, local government, state government, and government-owned corporations.
  • Critical infrastructure Protection (CIP) minimises vulnerability to criminal or malicious threats via physical, procedural, person-based, and electronic defences. CIP is a key part of CIR. At the national level, CIP focuses on mitigation against the specific threat of terrorism. In NSW, CIP is delivered jointly by the NSW Department of Justice through the Office for Police and the NSW Police Force, by working closely with other NSW agencies and the owners and operators of CI.  This Strategy complements existing CIP arrangements by encouraging CI providers in the all-threats and all-hazards approach to protecting CI.
  • Critical infrastructure Resilience (CIR) is the capacity of CI to withstand disruption, operate effectively in crisis, and deal with and adapt to shocks and stresses. It includes the flexibility to adapt to present and future conditions. At the national level, CIR is the term used to describe an ‘all hazards’ approach to CI activities across the spectrum of prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. In NSW, while infrastructure providers retain responsibility for CIR, it is delivered as a partnership between infrastructure owners, infrastructure operators, the NSW community, and local, state and federal government.

Within this strategy, CIR outcomes are divided into three categories, or types of resilience:

  • Infrastructure Resilience (IR) is the resilience planned for, designed, and built into assets, networks and systems.
  • Organisational resilience (OR) is the resilience of the organisations, personnel and processes supporting infrastructure to supply a service.
  • Community resilience (CR) focuses on the role the community plays in building and maintaining its own resilience while contributing to critical infrastructure resilience.