The Victorian government has refused to reveal the amount of taxpayer funds spent on the set-up of a shadowy US military-linked intelligence operation in the heart of the Melbourne CBD.

A secret deal was hatched last month to expand the Australian footprint of the massive Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), which rakes in $11 billion each year in revenue in its role as the private information arm of the US government.

An opaque press release issued by Ted Baillieu's government two weeks ago -- unreported by the mainstream media -- stated only that the centre, employing 50 people, would "focus on global challenges in national security, energy and environment, health and cyber security" to protect the state from "cyber attacks". Researchers in the Melbourne "will conduct advanced research in data mining and analysis systems".