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​Tata Consultancy to open innovation lab in Australia

The Indian giant will expand its operations in Australia, announcing plans to open its third innovation lab outside of India.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has announced plans to open a new TCS Innovation Lab in Australia, which will be the third opened by the consultancy giant outside of India.

The announcement to expand TCS' operations in Australia was made following a meeting between Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and TCS CEO and managing director Rajesh Gopinathan.

According to Turnbull, the new facility in Australia will operate as a collaborative space for TCS and its industry partners, and will employ local talent.

TCS said it will spend the next six months reviewing suitable locations for the lab.

Turnbull expects the facility will enable Australia to benefit from the research being carried out by the company, as well as the technological breakthroughs being made within the existing network of TCS Innovation Labs worldwide, including Peterborough in the United Kingdom; Cincinnati in the US; and Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Kolkata in India.

The Tata Group is India's largest conglomerate, operating across a range of industries including automotive, steel, energy, and consumer goods. TCS employs 378,000 people worldwide, including 3,000 in Australia where it provides IT services, consulting, and business solutions to the likes of Qantas, Westpac, and AGL.

The announcement of TCS' new lab follows news on Wednesday that search engine giant Google has shuttered its plans to base its headquarters at Sydney's upcoming Bay precinct.

The announcement came as a blow to the New South Wales government's vision for a Silicon Valley-like tech hub in Sydney's now-dubbed "Silicon Harbour" -- involving the transformation of the former coal-fired White Bay Power Station, which closed in 1983 -- which was first announced by former state Premier Mike Baird in 2015.

However, the failure to provide public transport upgrades to the rundown 100-hectare zone encompassing White Bay, Glebe Island, and Rozelle has been cited as a reason for Google's decision to withdraw from negotiations, Fairfax Media reported.

The state government confirmed that "the complexity of the project and the timing of associated transport infrastructure could not meet Google's requirements".

Critics had warned the project was "doomed" unless public transport to the White Bay area was improved, and while state opposition leader Luke Foley previously backed the project, he said back in 2015 that it would only ever become a reality if there was a public transport solution.

On Wednesday, Foley said the project "lies in a smoking ruin" after Google decided it was not going to make the move.

However, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government is still working closely with Google to find a more appropriate location.

"They are actually looking at a number of sites ... certainly they are looking to increase the size of their workforce here, which is welcome news to me," Berejiklian said.

Google, currently based in Pyrmont, said the government's planned upgrades to the precinct wouldn't be completed in time to accommodate the company.

"Through the genuine and productive negotiations in the last few months, we've come to realise that achieving that vision isn't possible within our time frame," a Google spokesperson said.

Berejiklian said she understood short-term solutions to public transport were necessary for a prospective tech company to base itself in the area and her government had plans to solve the transport issues. She refused to give specific details.

A total of 13 proposals from Australian and international contenders were submitted last year to UrbanGrowth, the New South Wales government agency overseeing the redevelopment of the Bay precinct.

"The White Bay Power Station has been earmarked as the global hub for high-tech jobs and innovation," UrbanGrowth chief executive David Pitchford said at the time.

"Organisations [have had] the opportunity to demonstrate their vision and capability to transform this historic asset and its surrounds.

"Sydney has an exciting future as the home of a diversified and internationally competitive knowledge sector, and the White Bay Power Station has the potential to be its hub."

The White Bay Power Station site itself is around 10 hectares in total, with UrbanGrowth announcing plans last year to subdivide the area into three lots, comprising the Power Station and an area intended to support the tech hub. The balance of the site is expected to form part of the Bay's Waterfront Promenade.

With AAP