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Microsoft unveils $5bn investment in Australian tech sector

Innovation, skills, artificial intelligence (AI), and working with the Australian Signals Directorate on cyber security are key planks of the massive investment.

Microsoft unveils $5 billion investment in Australian tech sector
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Microsoft made the announcement at Australia’s embassy in Washington, DC, alongside Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Microsoft’s vice-chair and president, Brad Smith, and Microsoft Australia and New Zealand managing director Steven Worrall were also at the early morning event.

The $5 billion investment – and that is Australian dollars, to be clear – will see Microsoft expanding its AI infrastructure and hyperscale cloud computing in the country while also boosting Microsoft’s data centres from 20 to 29 sites in Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra.


The company also announced it is working closely with TAFE NSW to establish a local Microsoft Datacentre Academy and is aiming to train up over 300,000 Australians with AI- and cloud-based skills.

Microsoft is also building with sustainability in mind and is aiming to transition its Australian data centres to be “carbon negative, water positive and zero waste by 2030”.

On the cyber security front, Microsoft has also said it will work with the Australian Signals Directorate on a program called the Microsoft-Australian Signals Directorate Cyber Shield, or MACS. The program will provide enhanced threat intelligence sharing capacity and help Australian cyber defenders analyse and mitigate nation-state-scale cyber incidents.

“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,” Prime Minister Albanese said in a statement.

“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.

“A strong economy requires protection from cyber threats,” Albanese said. “I welcome Microsoft’s collaboration with the Australian Signals Directorate to enhance cyber security for households and business.”

Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic was also bouted by the announcement.

“This is a big deal for our tech sector,” Minister Husic said. “Australia is one of the world’s most advanced users of cloud technologies, and this investment will keep us at the forefront.”

Kate Pounder, chief executive of the Tech Council of Australia, was also impressed.

“Hyperscale cloud providers like Microsoft are integral to Australia’s tech industry – they lower the barrier to entry for start-ups, 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,” Pounder said.

“The infrastructure, skilling and cyber security investments and initiatives we announced today build on our long-term commitment to Australia but are squarely focused on the future,” said Steven Worrall, Microsoft’s local managing director.

“They will not only enable a safer and more secure digital economy but also provide a platform to foster growth and innovation in the era of AI.”

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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