Resilient economy

In turbulent times, the Australian economy benefits from rock-solid foundations. Prior to 2020, the economy experienced just two years of negative growth during the previous six decades. And since the last recession in 1991, our growth rate has averaged 3.2 per cent, which is higher than every other major developed economy in the world.

Australia’s trade links with near neighbours are a major factor. The Asia region is ultra-fast growing, and Australia’s network of 14 free trade agreements across Asia and the Pacific have helped agile Australian businesses to rapidly expand.

While over 80 per cent of Australia’s economy is services-based, global leadership in several key industries powers our exports. Asian markets are hungry for Australian minerals and energy. Our agricultural industry is highly efficient, and our clean, green produce fetches premium prices in Asian markets.

Underpinning everything is our sound financial system, strong fiscal position and low government debt. This permits strategic investment in future industries and infrastructure.

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

World’s 20 largest economies, 2019
1.  Australia’s A$2 trillion economy
Australia held its place as the world’s 14th largest economy in 2019, despite being home to just 0.3 per cent of the global population. Australia’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated at almost A$2 trillion (US$1.4 trillion), which accounts for approximately 1.6 per cent of the global economy. In Australian dollars, the value of total national production has more than tripled in just two decades.
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GDP per person for selected economies, 1991-2019
2.  High living standards
Australian living standards have grown rapidly over the past two decades. In 1991, Australians had a lower GDP per head than France, Germany and the UK. After growing 189 per cent in almost three decades, Australia’s GDP has now overtaken France, Germany and the UK, as well as Canada and Sweden. In 2019, GDP per person reached a high, developed-world level of around US$54,000.
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Australia’s economic growth since 1961
3.  A rock-solid economy since 1961
Prior to 2020, Australia experienced just two years of negative growth over the previous six decades – in 1983 and 1991. This performance is unmatched by any other major, advanced economy in the world. Since 1992, Australia’s annual GDP growth rate has held steady, with an average increase of 3.2 per cent over 28 years.
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Economic growth by country/region
4.  Australia outpaces advanced economies
At 3.2 per cent per year, Australian GDP growth since 1992 has outmatched most comparable economic regions, including the Euro area (1.6 per cent p.a.), UK (2.1 per cent p.a.) and the US (2.6 per cent p.a.). The Australian economy also outpaced G7 countries as a group, and the average growth rate of the world’s advanced economies.
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Asian economic growth
5.  Proximity to Asia’s powerhouse economies
As a developed economy, Australia benefits from being part of an ultra-fast growing region of the world. Most of Australia’s principal export partners are located in Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, and a network of 14 free trade agreements gives Australian companies preferential access to these fast-growing markets.
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Australia’s real gross value added (GVA) by industry
6.  A diversified, services-based economy
Australia’s resilience is underpinned by a diversified mix of successful industries. In 2019, the country’s services and goods industries accounted for 82 per cent and 18 per cent of real gross value added (GVA) respectively. The largest contributor was the financial services sector (generating 9.3 per cent of GVA), followed by mining, healthcare and construction. Technology-driven sectors – including professional services, education and IT – are worth over 15 per cent of total economic production.
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Growth by industry in Australia’s real gross value added
7.  Australia’s service industries power ahead
The Australian services sector has grown strongly over the past two and a half decades. The information, media and telecommunications sector (5.1 per cent) has recorded the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) since 1991, followed by professional, scientific and technical services (4.9 per cent), and healthcare and social assistance (4.5 per cent). Overall, Australia’s services sector has expanded at a CAGR of 3.4 per cent since 1991, outpacing the 2.4 per cent CAGR of the goods sector, and the 3.2 per cent CAGR of the Australian economy as a whole.
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General government net debt, 2019
8.  Low government debt
The combined effects of COVID-19 lockdowns and economic support packages are swiftly changing the public debt profile of almost all economies. Fortunately, Australia entered 2020 with very low public debt, by international standards. In its April 2020 ‘Global Fiscal Monitor’ report, the International Monetary Fund reported that the Australian Government’s net debt was 23 per cent of GDP in 2019. This is well below the 77 per cent average for advanced economies. With low public sector debt, the Australian Government is well positioned to support economic recovery.
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