Tuesday, 16 June 2020 11:22

Macquarie investing $17 million in first stage of new Canberra data centre Featured

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Parliament House, Canberra Parliament House, Canberra

Macqauarie Government and Macquarie Data Centres are making an initial investment of $17 million to build the first stage of a new data centre, Intellicentre 5 (IC5), at its Canberra campus in response to what they say is rising demand for cloud and cyber security services.

The two businesses - part of the ASX-listed Macquarie Telecom Group (ASX: MAQ) of companies - say construction is due to commence in July,with the initial investment of $17 million to be used to build the stage one – 1.5 megawatts (MW) – by December 2020.

Once completed, the full Canberra campus comprising IC4 and IC5 will be 4MW, with additional capacity to expand further if required.

The announcement on Tuesday follows significant expansion of Macquarie’s Government business in recent months, “with 42% of agencies and personnel now leveraging its cyber security, secure internet gateway (SIG) and cloud services” - including a recent $20 million deal with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to protect it from security threats.

“Risk to Government of a cyber breach and the dependency on cloud services are at an all-time high – we’re not just going to return to the ‘norm’ after this pandemic and facilities of this calibre are an essential requirement in Canberra,” said Aidan Tudehope, Managing Director, Macquarie Government.

“Government departments need to have clarity over data sovereignty – who controls the data, where does it reside, and who has access. We cover these bases by ensuring Australian control and access only by Australian Government-cleared specialists. The IC5 South Bunker at Macquarie Data Centres’ Canberra Campus will also provide a safe haven for agencies that don’t want all their eggs in one basket, whether that’s splitting data between our facilities or other providers.”

Macquarie Government says the investment will also leverage the Federal Government’s ‘Instant Asset Write-Off’ and ‘Backing Business Investment’ stimulus measures providing accelerated capital allowances deductions for plant, equipment and other depreciating assets.

“IC5 and Macquarie’s investment into Australia’s data centre ecosystem will not only create valuable jobs, but build sovereign security skills and capabilities in what has become a vital industry for our nation,” said Senator Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters.

“This kind of investment, backed by the Government’s stimulus measures, is essential to growing Australia’s economy after the pandemic.”

Macquarie says the new facility will leverage the latest physical and virtual security and compliance credentials to manage Government cloud workloads at the protected, secret and above levels, including being designed to achieve Tier IV data centre standards, being SCEC Zone 5 ready, and retaining 120 plus NV1 government-cleared engineers.

Macquarie says it also aims to further capitalise on the increasing trend of hybrid IT in Australia, citing a recent report from IDC indicating IT services revenue will grow from nearly $20 billion in 2019 to $24 billion in 2023, primarily driven by hybrid cloud and security-related services.

“The trend towards hybrid IT is only accelerating in the advent of the pandemic due to a step-change in online behaviour. We are injecting circa $100 million into the economy this year with stage one of the build of our IC3 hyperscale Sydney facility at our Macquarie Park Data Centre Campus and the new IC5 South Bunker at our Canberra Campus,” said David Hirst, Group Executive, Macquarie Data Centres.

“Macquarie’s 18 plus years of experience and strong ties to the Federal Government are enticing to the hyperscale and multinational SaaS market, which are keen to conduct business and securely expand their cloud footprint among Australian Government agencies.”

Macquarie says IC5 will also see the creation of a number of permanent and temporary jobs in areas such as cyber security, engineering and construction, and it also plans to expand its existing graduate program to give additional opportunities to new graduates and “help meet the industry’s growing need for skilled professionals”.

Macquarie announced that ANZ Banking Group has provided an increase in the syndicated banking facilities from $100 million to $140 million to fund investment in IC5 construction, cyber security services and the ongoing build of IC3 East at the Macquarie Park Data Centre Campus.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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