Microsoft is investing AUS$5 billion (US$3.2 billion) to expand the cloud computing and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Australia by 250 per cent over the next two years.
The organisation aims to strengthen Australia’s economic competitiveness, create high-value jobs and protect the nation from the increasing threat of cyberattacks, according to a Microsoft press release.
As part of this initiative, Microsoft is working with TAFE NSW, an Australian vocational education and training provider, to establish its first data centre academy in Australia in early 2024. The academy’s curriculum will teach skills needed for core operational roles, such as data centre technicians and IT operations personnel. Both firms will also collaborate to help more than 300,000 Australians gain new technology capabilities.
Microsoft will also work with the Australian Signals Directorate on the Microsoft-Australian Signals Directorate Cyber Shield, to protect Australian residents, business and government entities from cyberthreats.
The announcement coincided with Australian’s prime minister Anthony Albanese’s state visit to the USA, where he was joined by Microsoft’s vice chair and president Brad Smith.
“A priority for my government is to ensure all Australians benefit from economic growth,” said Albanese. “This means that we need to provide the skills to enable Australians to succeed in the jobs of the future.”
Albanese (left) and Smith (right) meet during a state visit (image credit: Microsoft)
“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 Smith. “We’re coupling this AUS$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.”