Now the people of Victoria will benefit from the accelerated delivery of new cloud-based services thanks to the signing of a State Purchase Contract (SPC) between the Victorian Government and Amazon Web Services Australia Pty Ltd.

The agreement provides standardised terms and conditions for any Victorian government department, and government-owned entity that wishes to use any of the more than 200 cloud services that Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers. The agreement also extends to administrative offices, local councils, and entities under control of one of the eligible entities. This means even smaller government entities can now take advantage of the standardised conditions and buying power traditionally enjoyed by much larger organisations. Five out of nine government departments in Victoria are already taking advantage of the new contract.

AWS has many state and local government agencies among its customers in Victoria, and this new agreement will provide them with streamlined access to cloud services, while also opening access to the cloud for many others.

The Victorian Government has released a digital strategy for a future-ready Victoria with three key outcomes for better, fairer, more accessible services, a digital-ready public sector, and a thriving digital economy. This agreement helps accelerate delivery of those outcomes by enabling Victorian Government customers to innovate faster on behalf of citizens of Victoria. This includes using machine learning and artificial intelligence at Department of Land Water and Planning (DELWP) who are modelling bushfire behaviour to help reduce risk to life, property and the environment. To support Victorian citizens needing a wage subsidy during COVID-19, Jobs Victoria automated the processing of wage slips using Amazon Textract, a machine learning service that automatically extracts text from documents. As a result, applications for wage subsidies and payments to workers were able to be processed rapidly.

Creating local opportunities

AWS supports, and works with a vibrant partner community in Victoria, and we are comitted to investing in their enablement to strengthen the development of local technology capabilities. This community includes numerous multinational organisations as well as Melbourne-based businesses such as Two Bulls, Towcha, CEVO and Versent. TwoBulls works closely with government agencies to help design, build and deploy critical digital services for all Victorians. This ranges from permits, rebates, and sustainable building services, and helping the transition to cleaner energy. These services need to be highly scalable, available and robust, and AWS provides the core infrastructure that powers these critical services.

The agreement facilitates collaboration between nimble local partners such as The Data Foundry and Victorian government agencies, where they can resell into Government via distribution.

AWS continues to to strengthen our relationships with local AWS Partners so that they can also benefit from the new agreement. Towcha is an Indigenous-owned business serving the highest level of Australian corporate and government organisations with technology strategy, development and support. AWS is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion, including forging partnerships with first nations-owned organisations around the world. Towcha Technology delivers leading-edge innovations for governments to solve complex problems. Towcha is also a member of the Victorian Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce Kinaway, and part of the Indigenous Defence Consortium, which delivers national-building defence projects.

Supporting digital skills

Since 2017, AWS has trained more than 200,000 people across Australia, but Australia needs 6.5 million newly skilled and reskilled digital workers by 2025 to meet future demand for technology skills. That’s 79% more than we have today, and translates to over a million opportunities for Victorians. We have already taken steps to help solve the retraining challenge by supporting the Victorian Digital Skills Program, which enables mid-career Victorians to reskill on technology and gain access to higher paying jobs, while the AWS SheDares program provides free online training to women who are considering a career in the technology industry.

Programs such as these are part of our commitment to fostering a diverse, inclusive, accessible, and equitable workforce. AWS re/Start offers people who are unemployed or underemployed, access to a free 12-week full time skills training program to start them on the path to becoming digital professionals. The agreement also provides standardised terms for access to AWS training and certification programs. This will make it easier for the Victorian Government to increase the digital skills and capabilities of public sector workers, and create a workforce which is well suited to digital service delivery.

An ongoing commitment

AWS is committed to the security needs of our customers in every location in which we operate. Our customers own their data, control its location, and who has access to it. AWS has provided world-class infrastructure to customers in Australia, including on-shore data centres since 2012 for customers with data residency preferences, and is certified as a Strategic Hosting Provider in the Australian Government’s Hosting Certification Framework (HCF). AWS makes available a full range of security protections, tools, and services to the Australian Government and our local customers. As of December 2021, 125 AWS Cloud services available in the AWS Sydney Region have been assessed by the Information Security Registered Assessors Program (IRAP) for operating workloads at the PROTECTED level, the highest Australian Government data classification attainable for public cloud services.

In addition, AWS supports more security standards and compliance certifications than any other cloud offering, and provides services to millions of active customers around the world including financial services providers, healthcare providers, and government agencies, who trust us to secure and protect their most sensitive information.

The agreement with the Victorian Government is just one part of AWS’s commitment to the state of Victoria, which will soon be the home to our new AWS Asia Pacific (Melbourne) Region. This will be our second AWS Region in Australia, and will consist of three separate Availability Zones at launch. Having a second Region within the country provides additional IT architectural options for our local customers – including the ability to store backup data in geographically separated locations within Australia, which is crucial for services such as emergency management. It also boosts cloud performance while creating jobs through the construction phase and into ongoing operations.

Amazon is continuing to invest into the Victorian economy including investment in a wind farm at Hawkesdale, our first stand alone sorting centre in Victoria, our second Melbourne fulfillment centre, and our new corporate office in Melbourne. Our collaboration with the Victorian Government will help us bring the transformative power of the cloud to more Victorian public sector organisations, enabling them to more easily develop effective, reliable, secure, and cost-effective cloud-based services that benefit the people of Victoria.