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Google Australia and New Zealand Managing Director, Mel Silva. Source: Google
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  • Google announces a billion-dollar investment into Australia’s digital future, with a strong focus on tech, research, and environmental challenges
  • Google says the Digital Future Initiative to support some 6500 direct jobs across the country over the next five years and translate to $6.7 billion in total economic impact
  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the Google investment is a “$1 billion vote of confidence” in Australia’s digital strategy
  • However, Mr Morrison says more regulation may be needed to ensure the digital realm is as safe as the real world
  • A partnership with CSIRO to protect the Great Barrier Reef is one of the first projects announced under the Google initiative

Google has announced a billion-dollar investment into Australia’s digital future, with a strong focus on tech, research, and environmental challenges.

The tech giant expects its new Digital Future Initiative to support some 6500 direct jobs across the country, with just under $1.26 billion in direct investment over the next five years to translate to $6.7 billion in total economic impact.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said this marked the biggest investment into Australia from the company yet.

“We want to help Australia shape the next wave of innovations, and bring the benefits of technology to more people,” Mr Pichar said.

He said a core focus of the investment will on Australia’s tech infrastructure, and specifically on cloud computing.

Google also plans to build a new research hub in Australia at which it will assemble a team of local researchers and engineers, creating jobs and providing education and training for key technology sectors.

On top of all this, Google said it would partner with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to tackle challenges like natural hazard management, clean energy, and protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lauded the Google investment as a “$1 billion vote of confidence” in Australia’s digital strategy, though he warned that more regulation may be needed to ensure the digital realm is as safe as the real world.

“Today’s announcement by Google demonstrates that we are taking the right approach and it recognises the digital leadership that is necessary for Australia to emerge as a top digital economy by 2030,” the Prime Minister said at the launch of the Digital Future Initiative.

He added, however, that the government was “not naive” to the risks and challenges associated with tech advancement.

“We need to ensure that we apply the same rules to the digital world that exist in the real world,” he said.

“On one hand, we seek to encourage, of course, the massive investment in the jobs and opportunities and digital technologies that will generate here in Australia.

On the other hand, we need to put an equal amount of effort into making sure the digital world is safe and secure and trusted.”

Mr Pichai said Google’s growing presence in Australia reflects its “deep confidence” in the country’s future.

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