Microsoft has announced a major digital infrastructure, skilling and cybersecurity investment in Australia.
Microsoft has announced major digital infrastructure, skilling and cybersecurity investments in Australia to, “help the nation seize the artificial intelligence era to strengthen its economic competitiveness, create high-value jobs and protect the nation from the increasing threat of cyberattacks,” according to a statement by the company.
Microsoft will invest A$5 billion in expanding its hyperscale cloud computing and Ai infrastructure in Australia over the next two years. The investment will increase its computing capacity by 250 percent over the next two years.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Microsoft president Brad Smith, and Microsoft Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Steven Worrall unveiled the two year plan at the Australian embassy in Washington, DC.
“This is a major investment in the skills and workers of the future, which will help Australia to strengthen our position as a world-leading economy,” said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese “A priority for my Government is to ensure all Australians benefit from economic growth. This means that we need to provide the skills to enable Australians to succeed in the jobs of the future.”
To support the government’s goals, Microsoft has committed to support an additional 300,000 Australians as part of its global skills programs, designed to help people gain the skills and capabilities they need to succeed in the digital economy by providing access to learning resources, certifications and job-seeking tools.
Next year, it will open the Datacentre Academy in Australia in partnership with TAFE NSW. The academy’s curriculum will align with core operational roles, including those of data centre technicians, critical environment specialists, inventory and asset management professionals, and IT operations personnel.
“The Tech Council of Australia (TCA) welcomes this substantial investment in Australia’s digital infrastructure, this investment is critical to creating jobs and opportunity in Australia,” said Kate Pounder, CEO, Tech Council of Australia. “The TCA has a shared goal with the Australian Government of having 1.2 million people in tech jobs in Australia by 2030.
Hyperscale cloud providers like Microsoft are integral to Australia’s tech industry – they lower the barrier to entry for startups, act as incubators for developing talent, allow scale-ups to compete on the global stage and provide the same innovation and security available to the largest companies.”
Microsoft has also announced the investment will address cybercrime. The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) national Cyber Watch Office received more than 76,000 cybercrime reports in the 2021–22 financial year, an increase of nearly 13 per cent from the previous year. Microsoft will collaborate with ASD to develop a fit for purpose initiative called the Microsoft-Australian Signals Directorate Cyber Shield (MACS), aimed at improving protection from cyber threats for Australian residents, businesses and government entities.
“This is our largest investment in Microsoft’s 40-year history in Australia and a testament to our commitment to the country’s growth and prosperity in the Ai era,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft Vice Chair and President. “We’re coupling this $5 billion in computing capacity and capabilities with Ai and engineering that will strengthen the nation’s cyber defence, including a deeper collaboration with the Australian Signals Directorate.”