Microsoft pledged an investment of AUD5 billion ($3.2 billion) to expand its cloud compute and AI capabilities in Australia over the next two years as part of a wide-ranging effort to improve cybersecurity and digital training.

The tech giant stated it would provide digital skills training to 300,000 people and expand a cybersecurity threat information sharing agreement with the Australian Signals Directorate.

It will also grow data centre numbers in key cities by 45 per cent.

Microsoft noted the new data centres will help meet its sustainability goals of being carbon negative, water positive and issuing zero waste by 2030.

“This is a major investment in the skills and workers of the future,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated.

“We need to provide the skills to enable Australians to succeed in the jobs of the future.”

Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith added the investment is the company’s largest in Australia in the past 40 years, “a testament to our commitment to the country’s growth and prosperity in the AI era”.