Microsoft announced today an unprecedented record investment of A$5 billion in Australia over the next two years. Making it the single largest investment in the company's 40-year history in the country, the announcement was made alongside Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C., USA.
The substantial investment will span the sectors of digital infrastructure, skilling, and cybersecurity with the objective to aid Australia in capitalising the artificial intelligence opportunity, bolster economic competitiveness, foster high-value job creation, and enhance protection from the increasingly pervasive threat of cyberattacks.
Project highlights consist of expanding Australia's digital capability to capitalise the artificial intelligence opportunity. This includes augmenting Microsoft's computing capacity by about 250 per cent over the next two years, aiding an addition 300,000 Australians achieve the skills and capabilities required to thrive in the digital economy, and launching Microsoft's first Datacentre Academy in Australia in early 2024, in cooperation with TAFE NSW. Microsoft will also strengthen the nation's cyber defenses with the Microsoft-ASD Cyber Shield (MACS) where Microsoft is partnering with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).
This ambitious plan set by Microsoft will help boost Australia's economy by allowing it to seize artificial intelligence opportunities, while also creating jobs and ensuring cybersecurity. The partnership with ASD under the Microsoft-ASD Cyber Shield (MACS) will advance the government and Microsoft's joint capability to identify, prevent and respond to cyber threats, which are increasing in both frequency and severity.
"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 strong economy requires protection from cyber threats. I welcome Microsoft’s collaboration with the Australian Signals Directorate to enhance cybersecurity for households and business."
"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 A$5 billion in computing capacity and capabilities with AI and engineering that will strengthen the nation’s cyber defence."
Brad Smith's sentiments were echoed by others. "This is a big deal for our tech sector," said Minister for Industry, Ed Husic. “Australia is one of the world’s most advanced users of cloud technologies and this investment will keep us at the forefront.” Business Council Chief Executive, Bran Black, described the investment as a game-changer for Australian businesses, helping them lift their use of AI and cloud technologies, build the skills Australians will need for the future, and secure the nation against cyber threats.