Remarks at Microsoft announcement

Embassy of Australia, Washington DC
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
Prime Minister

Well, thanks very much, Kevin, and to Ambassador Kennedy, as well.

Welcome. It's fantastic to have you here with us.

And to Brad and Steve, and other representatives who are here. What a fantastic announcement.

This is completely in sync with what my Government's direction has been. How do we, in the words there, seize is one of my favourite words. We are confronting an ever-changing world. And countries will either move forward and seize the opportunities to create the jobs of the future, to expand in terms of our economic growth, to take advantage of where we are in the world in the fastest growing region in the world in human history just to our north, or countries will go past us.

And this investment will help make sure that doesn't happen.

This is a very significant $5 billion announcement with, of course, three important components.

I mean, the first is the investment in AI infrastructure that will make an enormous difference.

Digital infrastructure is critical to not just the way our economy functions, but the way that we live, the way that we work, the way that we enjoy the delivery of social services, the way that we lift up the education and capacity of our people.

And this investment will make an enormous difference, growing its local data centre footprint from 20 to 29 sites with benefit for Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

And I spoke in advance with the Premier of Victoria, new Premier Jacinta Allan, and the New South Wales Premier, Chris Minns, as well as ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr. They are very welcoming of this investment that will make a significant difference.

Secondly, as well, your investment in people, in partnership with TAFE New South Wales, that facility there at Meadowbank is indeed a terrific way to train 200 people in the first couple of years, but also, importantly 300,000 Australian through your Global Skills Program. As you've said, we need to invest in infrastructure but we also need to invest in our human capital to lift it up as well. And giving people skills will have an enormous benefit.

And thirdly, something that has been a real focus is the issue of cybersecurity. And this partnership and collaboration with the Australian Signals Directorate is very welcome indeed.

This will improve joint capability to identify, prevent and respond to cyber threats.

We know that this is having an impact on all companies. We know as well, that this is about individuals and the protection of who they are.

We need to get this right.

Because for 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, all the aspects of the way that we live, work and play being collected.

People want to know that their privacy is being protected at the same time.

In addition to that, of course, it represents an economic threat.

We've spoken about the three great threats for why we need to become more resilient in Australia as part of my future made in Australia's strategy.

And the big three threats are, of course, a future pandemic event.

The second is conflict.

We live in a world where, unfortunately, we're seeing conflict take place in a number of destinations around the world. And our own region is not immune from risk.

The third is a cyber event that literally has an enormous impact on our economy.

So, this investment, getting ahead, will make an enormous difference as well.

I have every confidence in Rachel and her team at ASD do an extraordinary job.

But this will uplift the capacity for them to do that job. And I really welcome this investment.

I know that my Minister, Ed Husic, is very excited by this. We announced, prior to the election, our support for the Tech Council's target of 1.2 million jobs in this area by 2030.

Now, that's critical.

It's also about the nature of those jobs. These are high-paid, secure jobs in the future. So, when we're skilling people up for them, we're skilling them up for a prosperous economic future as well as individuals as well as being able to contribute to the economy.

And when you look at companies in these sort of tech spaces, companies like Atlassian and Canva coming in, they did not exist, literally, when Kevin and I were PM and Deputy in 2013. Some of these were not heard of. They are now some of the largest companies in Australia and operating globally, as well.

The other thing that this does, and it's important as part of this visit here, is help the relationship between Australia and the United States.

The United States is Australia's most important two-way trade partner. And Australian investment in the United States has grown substantially in recent time, but we continue to welcome this investment here.

So, to Microsoft, we really thank you for this investment.

We thank the Ambassador for the role that he's played in this.

And we look forward to seeing the results, which I'm sure will be successful for the company, which I know will be successful for our nation.