Amazon Web Services (AWS) this week said it is planning to spend $13.2 billion on cloud infrastructure in Sydney and Melbourne between now and 2027.
The spend from a single multi-national tech company puts the federal government’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund – a flagship policy that took nearly a year to implement – into perspective.
Of the total $13.2 billion, $11 billion will go toward the Sydney region which “includes the capital and operative expenditures associated with constructing, connecting, operating, and maintaining” the region.
The remaining $2.2 will be spent on the Melbourne region.
Importing equipment, constructing the data centres, and hiring staff to maintain and run the infrastructure are named as the main expenses which AWS claims in its marketing material will be “directly attributable to this project”.
In an AWS press release, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese talked up the importance of “digital transformation”.
“A whole-of-nation effort is required to ensure Australia and its citizens and businesses can be resilient, secure, and prosperous,” he said.
“Economic and infrastructure investment from cloud providers like AWS helps create jobs, advances digital skills, boosts innovation, and uplifts local communities and businesses.”
AWS claims that, in the ten years since opening the Sydney region, its cloud business has added $19.2 billion to Australia’s GDP and supported over 5,000 full-time jobs each year.
Rianne Van Veldhuizen, AWS managing director for Australia and New Zealand, called cloud computing “the backbone of Australia and its businesses”.
“We are committed to positive social and economic impact, investing in local community engagement programs, workforce development initiatives, cloud infrastructure, and renewable energy project investments,” she said.
AWS is a behemoth, pulling in $118 billion (US$80 billion) in sales last year. That’s just under five per cent of Australia’s GDP.
If AWS were an Australian state it would be economically in the range of South Australia whose gross state product (GSP) in the 2021-22 financial year was $124 billion. AWS’s 2022 revenue was larger than the combined 2021-22 GSP of the Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania.
AWS has a trio of renewable energy projects – two solar farms in regional NSW and a wind farm in Victoria – from which it’ll draw the power to keep its data centres running as parent company looks to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.
Amazon last month moved to cut another 9,000 staff focusing on AWS, its streaming platform Twitch, and its advertising department.
The latest layoffs closely followed an announcement of 18,000 job cuts back in January.