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New $17m facility launched to store Defence data

A new data centre has been launched in Canberra, designed to store highly-classified government information.

A new data centre has been launched in Canberra, designed to store highly-classified government information.

Macquarie Telecom Group has announced the opening of a new $17 million data centre in Canberra, which is expected to house "highly-classified" Commonwealth government data, including sensitive material stored by the Department of Defence.  

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The facility, which forms part of the company’s data centre portfolio — Intellicentre 5 (IC5) — is the latest of a $100 million investment in the construction of secure, sovereign Australian data centres in Sydney and Canberra.

The new centre is expected to offer further capacity for government cloud workloads and an additional secure facility to back up data.

“Data and cloud demand has skyrocketed as the pandemic continues to bring forward years’ worth of IT and digital transformation projects,” David Hirst, group executive, Macquarie Data Centres, said.

“Ensuring that data remains secure, sovereign and within Australia’s borders is vital to protecting our national security and privacy interests – this facility embodies that need in every way.”

The facility was built by Australian construction company Manteena, which has previously helped design and construct secure infrastructure for the Department of Defence and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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 Manteena formed part of Macquarie’s local supply chain, which included Queanbeyan company SRA Solutions, which provided data centre racks for IC5.

“Government agencies cannot risk having all their data eggs in one basket,” Aidan Tudehope, managing director, Macquarie Government and Hosting Group, said.

“Canberra needs greater diversity in its balance of data storage, protection and management, and the Australian government wants greater competition in the local market that supports government agencies.

“IC5 is not just welcome, but necessary infrastructure for government agencies that are increasing their cloud and IT needs.”

The launch of the facility comes just a week after it was reported that the Department of Defence extended a data storage contract with Chinese-owned firm Global Switch.

The deal, renewed in September, permits the company to continue storing data at its Ultimo facility in Sydney, despite the government’s previous commitment to relocate the information to a secure government-owned complex by 2020.

Secretary of Defence Greg Moriarty dismissed suggestions that the deal compromises sensitive national security information, insisting that Defence’s data is “safe and secure”.

Moriarty stressed that control and access of the Defence data stored at the Ultimo facility “remains under full operational control” of the federal government, adding that all sensitive data was removed from the storage centre in May 2020.

He added that Defence is taking a “rigorous, risk-based approach” to migrating the remaining “less sensitive” data to an alternate facility.

[Related: Defence quells data security concerns amid fears of foreign compromise]

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.

New $17m facility launched to store Defence data
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