Google Australia managing director Mel Silva (left) welcomes Prime Minister Scott Morrision to the initiative’s launch. Source: Google
Alphabet Inc.’s Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) has promised to invest AUS$1 billion (US$736 million) in Australian digital infrastructure over the next five years to accelerate the country’s data economy.
The Digital Future Initiative, as the company has named it, will also see the development of a national research hub as well as the establishment of several local partnerships, including Australian Government agency Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
Google said the investment will support as many as 6,529 new direct jobs and 28,057 total jobs across Australia.
The initiative is forecasted to generate a further $1.259 billion (US$920 million) in direct investment and $6.716 billion (US$4.89 billion) in total economic impact, according to Henry Ergas AO and Green Square Associates.
The Melbourne Cloud Region operates alongside the Sydney Cloud Region (which opened in 2017), and nine other regions throughout the APAC region, including in Mumbai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo
Prime Minister Scott Morrision, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Chargé d’Affaires Mike Goldman from the US Embassy, and CSIRO CEO Larry Marshall all took part in the launch of the project in Sydney this week.
Chief executive Pichai said: “Australia can help lead the world’s next wave of innovation, harnessing technology to improve lives, create jobs and make progress.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Google’s announcement is a vote of confidence in Australia’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
“We believe passionately in Australia that that entrepreneurship is actually what solves the world’s biggest problems, whether it is realising the challenges of digital technology or indeed achieving what is needed to be achieved with low emissions energy into the future,” he said.
“Private capital investment, entrepreneurship, collaborating with the world’s best scientists and researchers and innovators. That’s what solves the problems, not taxes and regulation. So leadership in digital capability, skills, digital literacy, cyber security and safety, emerging technologies and AI and in developing research and industry partnerships with digital leaders such as Google.”
Google first entered Australia in 2002 and has today almost 2000 Googlers, including more than 700 engineers working from offices in Sydney and Melbourne, including a new, expanded office space in Pyrmont.
Google Australia managing director Mel Silva, said: “The Digital Future Initiative is about bringing significant technology resources and capabilities to Australia, investing in the infrastructure that benefits people and businesses, and helping the best talent thrive here.
“A strong digital future creates opportunities, improves the everyday and enables the extraordinary – and we’d love to help Australia and Australians make the most of the opportunity and build for tomorrow.”