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Industry Capability Reports

Bringing innovation and originality to global supply chains

Australia has a proud record of originality in advanced manufacturing. It is the country that gave birth to the ultrasound scanner, the black box flight recorder and the bionic ear.

Today, advanced manufacturing accounts for around half of Australia’s A$104 billion annual manufacturing output and is one of the fastest growing export sectors.

Part of this success is due to cross-fertilisation between R&D institutions and the manufacturing sector. For example, co-operative research centres have been established to provide links between industry and the research community. They help to commercialise technologies in specialist fields such as advanced composite structures, automotive technologies, cast metals manufacturing, railway engineering, polymers and spatial information.

As a result, manufacturing currently attracts more than $3.9 billion annually in R&D, or 39 per cent of all business expenditure on R&D (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Cat. No. 8140.0, Business Expenditure of R&D, 2005–2006). Approximately A$10 billion is invested annually in new plant and equipment.

Advanced manufacturing has become a prime avenue for inward investment. In 2006, the value of FDI in Australian manufacturing reached A$60 billion (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Cat. No. 5352.0, International Investment Position, Table 21a). Some industry sectors have attracted particular attention among overseas high-technology companies. These include: Boeing and BAE Systems for specialist aerospace components; Ford, General Motors, and Toyota in the automotive sector; BASF and DuPont in the chemicals industry; and Siemens in energy and water treatment technology.

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