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Macquarie to build Government data centre in Canberra

16 Jun 2020

Macquarie Data Centres and Macquarie Government, part of Macquarie Telecom Group, have announced the build of a new data centre, Intellicentre 5 (IC5), at its Canberra campus as the demand for Macquarie Government’s cloud and cybersecurity services rises.

With construction due to commence in July, the initial investment of AU$17 million will be used to build 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 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. 

These will include being designed to achieve Tier IV data centre standards, being SCEC Zone 5 ready, and retaining 120 plus NV1 government-cleared engineers. It will also have an industry-leading PUE to maximise efficiency.

Macquarie also aims to further capitalise on the increasing trend of hybrid IT in Australia. 

A recent report from IDC indicated IT services revenue will grow from nearly AU$20 billion in 2019 to AU$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 AU$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,” says Macquarie Data Centres group executive David Hirst.

 “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.”

The announcement follows the significant expansion of Macquarie’s Government business in recent months, with 42% of agencies and personnel now leveraging its cybersecurity, secure internet gateway (SIG) and cloud services. 

This includes a recent AU$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,” says Macquarie Government managing director Aidan Tudehope.

“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.”

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,” says Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters Senator Zed Seselja. 

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

IC5 will also see the creation of a number of permanent and temporary jobs in areas such as cybersecurity, engineering and construction. 

Macquarie also plans to expand its existing graduate programme to give additional opportunities to new graduates and help meet the industry’s growing need for skilled professionals.

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has provided an increase in the syndicated banking facilities from $100 million to $140 million to fund investment in IC5 construction, cybersecurity services and the ongoing build of IC3 East at the Macquarie Park Data Centre Campus.