Microsoft is making an unprecedented A$5 billion (2.6 GBP) investment in Australia, aimed at expanding the nation’s digital infrastructure, boosting cybersecurity, and enhancing AI adoption. Microsoft’s investment is intended to support Australia’s economic competitiveness and ensure its resilience against cyber threats.
Super-charging Australia’s tech future
In its largest-ever Australian investment, Microsoft will channel A$5 billion into enhancing its hyperscale cloud computing and AI infrastructure over the next two years. This initiative will boost Microsoft’s local data center network from 20 to 29 sites across Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney.
The strategic partnership with TAFE NSW will also see the establishment of the Microsoft Datacenter Academy in Australia. Its goal is to equip more than 300,000 Australians with the skills needed to excel in the cloud and AI-driven economy.
The company’s first Datacenter Academy in Australia, launching in early 2024 in partnership with TAFE NSW, will offer training in critical roles, including data center technicians and IT operations personnel.
These investments are part of the broader industry-government pledge to create 1.2 million tech-related jobs in Australia by 2030.
Microsoft’s expanded infrastructure will elevate its computing capacity by roughly 250% in the next two years. The move aligns with forecasts anticipating cloud computing services to almost double from AA$12.2 billion in 2022 to AA$22.4 billion in 2026.
Promising economic gains
A recent report by the Tech Council of Australia and Microsoft suggests that accelerated adoption of generative AI could contribute up to AA$115 billion annually to Australia’s economy by 2030.
Furthermore, Microsoft is determined to meet its sustainability goals by being carbon negative, water positive, and zero waste by 2030. This includes the use of low-carbon materials, renewable energy, advanced water-cooling systems, and reduced diesel fuel consumption in operation.
Improving Cyber Defenses
The Microsoft-Australian Signals Directorate Cyber Shield (MACS) initiative is set to bolster the cybersecurity posture of Australia.
This collaboration builds upon Microsoft’s longstanding partnership with the Australian Government, enhancing their collective capabilities to identify, prevent, and respond to the rising frequency and severity of cyber threats.
ASD‘s national Cyber Watch Office reported over 76,000 cybercrime incidents in the 2021–22 financial year, averaging one report every seven minutes. MACS will focus on detecting, analyzing, and defending against sophisticated nation-state cyber threats.
The director general of ASD, Rachel Noble, highlighted the significance of these investments in strengthening the collective capacity to protect Australians in cyberspace.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese praised Microsoft’s commitment to cybersecurity and the development of skills for the future workforce.
Microsoft’s investment will not only enhance the digital infrastructure and cybersecurity capabilities of Australia but also position the nation to harness the economic and productivity opportunities presented by the latest AI technology.