Tech giant Alphabet which operates Google has pledged to spend over 1 billion Australian dollars ($714 million) for activities such as expanding cloud architecture and setting up a research hub staffed by Australian researchers and engineers and partnering with science agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
The billion dollar project dubbed 'Digital Future Initiative' is set to unravel over the course of five years and is expected to directly create 6,000 jobs and support 28,000 overall. It comes just months after Google threatened to pull its services out of Australia following the imposition of the News Media Bargaining Code that forced Google and Facebook to pay local news providers for content.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed the funding move by Google as shot in the arm for Australia's hopes of becoming one of the top 10 digital economies in the world by 2030.
"The decision by Google has major benefits for Australian businesses as we engage with the economic recovery before us," Morrison said. "It will bring more to STEM jobs to our shores … across engineering, computing science and AI."
Australia can help lead the world's next wave of innovation, harnessing technology to improve lives, create jobs, and make progress," Google boss Sundar Pichai said at the initiative's launch in Sydney. Sydney has aims to become the "Silicon Valley" of the southern hemisphere with the construction of the multi-million dollar Tech Central hub in the city.