Microsoft to Help Australia Build ‘Cyber Shield’

Anthony Albanese Announces On Washington Trip

By Brad Ryan in Washington DC, ABC News Posted 24 October 2023

Tech giant Microsoft will help Australia build a “cyber shield” to fend off global online threats under a plan to sink billions of dollars into securing and expanding the national digital economy.

Key points:

  • Anthony Albanese is in the US at the invitation of Joe Biden
  • He joined Microsoft’s president to announce the tech giant’s $5 billion investment in Australia
  • The company will work with Australia’s online security agency on the cyber-shield project

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Microsoft president Brad Smith unveiled the plan at the Australian embassy in Washington, DC on the first day of the PM’s official visit to the US.

Microsoft says the project is part of its biggest investment in Australia in its 40-year history: a $5 billion plan to expand infrastructure and skills, with a focus on cloud technology and artificial intelligence.

The company will work with the Australian Signals Directorate — the national agency responsible for cybersecurity and online warfare — to build the cyber shield.

Mr Albanese said it was one of the first steps in the Australian Cyber Security Strategy, announced after last year’s Optus and Medibank hack scandals and aimed at making Australia “the world’s most cyber-secure nation” by 2030.

“Many people will look at what is happening in this ever-changing world with data being collected on every aspect of our life – not just credit cards, but other details, health data, everything else,” Mr Albanese said.

“People want to know that their privacy has been protected at the same time.”

Microsoft will also build nine new data centre sites — to add to the existing 20 — in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, and a new “Data Centre Academy” with TAFE NSW to train 200 people in two years.

The company has also promised to support other programs to deliver digital skills training to 300,000 Australians.

Mr Albanese says science and technology will be a focus of his four-day trip to Washington.