Microsoft today declared that it will invest an extraordinary A$5 billion over the next two years in Australia, setting a new record. At the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C., USA, the announcement was made with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, marking the largest investment the corporation has ever made in the nation’s 40-year history.
The significant investment will be made in the areas of cybersecurity, digital infrastructure, and skill development. Its goals are to help Australia take advantage of the opportunities presented by artificial intelligence, increase economic competitiveness, promote the creation of high-value jobs, and improve defense against the ever-present threat of cyberattacks.
Increasing Australia’s digital capacity to take advantage of the artificial intelligence opportunity is one of the project’s highlights. This includes helping an additional 300,000 Australians acquire the skills and abilities needed to thrive in the digital economy, increasing Microsoft’s computing capacity by roughly 25% over the next two years, and launching Microsoft’s first Datacenter Academy in Australia in early 2024 in collaboration with TAFE NSW. Through its partnership with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), Microsoft will fortify the country’s cyber defenses through the Microsoft-ASD Cyber Shield (MACS).
Through the creation of jobs, cybersecurity, and the ability to take advantage of artificial intelligence potential, Microsoft’s ambitious plan will help Australia’s economy grow. The government and Microsoft will be better able to recognize, stop, and respond to cyber threats—which are becoming more frequent and severe—thanks to their relationship with ASD under the Microsoft-ASD Cyber Shield (MACS).
“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,” stated Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. “Resisting cyberattacks is essential for a robust economy. I applaud Microsoft and the Australian Signals Directorate for their partnership to improve home and commercial cybersecurity.”
Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft, stated, “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.” “We’re combining this $5 billion in computational power and capabilities with engineering and artificial intelligence to bolster the country’s cyber defense.”
Several people shared the same thoughts as Brad Smith. Minister of Industry Ed Husic stated, “This is a big deal for our tech sector.” “With this investment, Australia will remain at the forefront of cloud computing, as we are among the world’s most advanced users.” Bran Black, the CEO of the Business Council, called the investment a game-changer for Australian companies, helping them to leverage AI and cloud technologies more effectively, develop the skills that Australians will need in the future, and protect the country from cyberattacks.