Google announced on Tuesday that it will invest A$1 billion ($736 million) in Australia over the next five years, just months after threatening to withdraw its services due to increased government regulation.
Alphabet Inc’s primary operational company announced plans to develop cloud infrastructure, establish a research centre with Australian researchers and engineers, and collaborate with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
Mel Silva, the managing director of Google Australia, who threatened to block Google’s search engine earlier this year, claimed the spending plan will bring major technology resources and investment to the country.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who attended the funding announcement in Sydney, described it as a “A$1 billion vote of confidence” in Australia’s digital economy strategy, which seeks to place the country among the top 10 digital economies in the world by 2030.
“As we engage with the economic recovery ahead of us, Google’s decision has huge benefits for Australian firms,” Morrison said. He said, “It will bring more STEM jobs to our shores… spanning engineering, computing science, and AI.” STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Silva threatened to stop Google’s search engine during hearings in Australia’s parliament in January to avoid regulations requiring the business and social media operator Facebook Inc to pay news publishers for content posted on their websites.
However, the bill was passed, and Google withdrew its threat. Instead, Google and Facebook reached licencing agreements with the majority of Australia’s major media businesses.
In March, the federal government will begin a study of the law’s effectiveness.
Australia has also stated that it intends to hold huge internet companies liable for defamation and misinformation spread on their platforms, a move that has been heavily opposed by the technology sector.
“We must make an equal effort to ensure that the digital environment is safe, secure, and trustworthy,” Morrison said.
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