Dynamic industries

Energy and resources made up around 75 per cent of Australia’s goods exports in 2019. The export mix is changing, however. During 2019, Australia rivalled Qatar as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. Fresh investment in the mining and processing of lithium and rare-earth minerals will grow Australia’s role in the supply chain for electric vehicles and hightech devices.

Meanwhile, renewables are taking off. Australia’s coastal population and sunshine climate have seen wind and solar power soar. Today, they account for half of Australia’s renewable energy generation.

Australian agriculture is truly worldleading – in efficiency, technology and environmental credibility. This helps Australian farmers attract investment from around the world, and secure new customers for clean, green produce in Asia’s premium food markets. Our services industries are also strong. Australia’s financial markets manage the world’s fourth largest pool of pension fund assets – a sector that is growing faster in Australia than in any other developed economy.

Charts from the Benchmark Report

The Australia Benchmark Report provides rich data demonstrating why there is no better place than Australia to do business. The report examines five key reasons for investing in Australia – robust economy, dynamic industries, innovation & skills, global ties and strong foundations – and compares Australia’s credentials with other countries.

Charts can be downloaded and saved as images for use in reports and presentations (when using please reference www.austrade.gov.au)

Australia’s globally significant industries
1.  Australia’s globally significant industries
Australia is a leading provider of goods and services that are in high demand across the global economy. The country is one of the world’s top five exporters of minerals and fuels, with significant reserves of iron ore, gold and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Australia is also one of the world’s top 14 agricultural producers and a leader in the production of premium and clean, green produce. Meanwhile, Australia has large and sophisticated financial markets, with the world’s fifth largest pool of investment fund assets.
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Australia’s tech credentials
2.  A leader in new technologies
Australia’s transition to a services-based economy is driving the development of new technologies in agriculture, education, financial services, health and other sectors. Innovation includes the use of blockchain in finance, immersive simulation technologies in education, robotics in medical procedures and the Internet of Things in agriculture. Australia is also recognised as a world leader in silicon-based quantum computing research.
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Australia’s commodity exports, 2018–191
3.  Abundant reserves of mineral and energy resources
Australia has the world’s largest reserves of iron ore, gold, lead and zinc, as well as the second largest reserves of bauxite, nickel, lithium and cobalt. With the world’s largest uranium reserves and the second largest deposits of brown coal, Australia is a major energy supplier to Asian economies. New resources also beckon. Australia’s lithium industry will benefit from the rapid rise in demand for lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles. US demand will spur rareearths mining and processing.
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Australia’s resources and energy sector, 2001-02 to 2018-19
4.  Fast-growing exports in the resources and energy sectors
Australia’s proximity to resources-hungry Asian markets underpins its position as a major global exporter of minerals and energy. From 2001–02 to 2018–19, Australia’s total resources and energy exports are estimated to have quintupled to around A$280 billion. Export earnings are expected to remain strong, as the volume of resources and energy exports increases.
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Australia’s renewable energy generation volumes and world rankings
5.  A growing market for renewables
Renewable energy accounted for almost 16 per cent of Australia’s total electricity generation in 2017–18. Over the past decade, the amount of energy generated by wind and solar sources has grown significantly, leveraging Australia’s natural advantages. Electricity generation from wind and solar power alone accounted for half of Australia’s renewable energy generation in 2017–18. They generated just 16 per cent of Australian renewables 10 years ago.
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Australia’s top 15 export destinations for food and fibre
6.  A top agri-exporter to Asian markets
Australian food and fibre exports rose to almost A$50 billion in 2019. Of Australia’s 15 top food markets, 12 are in the Asia region3, and they account for approximately three quarters of the nation’s agrifoods exports. With a reputation for high agricultural standards and a well-regulated food industry, Australian produce commands premium prices in Asia. Meanwhile, Australia’s network of regional free trade agreements gives Australian growers preferential access to Asian markets.
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Australia’s major agricultural commodity exports, 2018-19
7.  A clean, green source of natural fibres and food
Demand for Australia’s agricultural commodities drives the country’s export trade in high-value, branded, premium products. Australia is a major global producer of beef, wool, wheat, wine, raw cotton, lamb, barley, sugar, fruit, live feeder/slaughter cattle, mutton and tree nuts. Together, these top 12 products contributed almost 70 per cent to the total value of Australia’s A$48 billion of agricultural exports in 2018–19.
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Global significance of Australia’s financial markets
8.  Strong, sophisticated financial markets
Australia has well-developed financial markets, including the world’s fifth largest pool of managed funds, ninth largest stock market and tenth largest foreign exchange market. The US$2.2 trillion managed funds sector is underpinned by a mandated retirement savings scheme – called superannuation – that has created the fourth largest pension pool in the world.
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Assets of Australian financial institutions, 1999-2019
9.  Australia’s A$9.5 trillion financial sector
Australian financial markets are large relative to the overall size of our economy. The total estimated value of all financial assets rose to A$9.5 trillion in 2019. This equates to almost five times Australia’s GDP. On average, the sector has grown at just over nine per cent per year over the past 20 years. The size and strength of Australia’s financial services industry makes it the largest contributor to the country’s gross value added and a significant source of capital.
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International higher education enrolments by regional grouping
10.  The third most popular country for overseas students
By the end of 2019, Australia had become the third most popular destination for foreign students enrolled in higher education. Australia attracted over 750,000 international students in 2019, who enrolled in universities, technical colleges, vocational education and training colleges, English language courses, and schools. About 80 per cent of students arrived from countries in Asia.
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Top 15 global tourism receipts – markets
11.  A top market for global tourism
With a 3.1 per cent share of global tourism receipts, Australia was the world’s eighth largest international tourism market in 2019. As the world recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, domestic tourism will help Australia gain a competitive edge. In 2019, the amount spent by international visitors to Australia (US$46 billion) was less than half the amount spent by domestic overnight travellers in Australia. With few overseas options and stringent border controls, Australia’s highspending domestic tourists will help sustain Australian tourism until global visitors return.
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