The manufacturing sector plays a crucial role in the Australian economy. It contributes 6.2% to the GDP of the country but more importantly, it creates more than 862,000 jobs to support a sizeable section of the population. The manufacturing industry also contributes significantly through R&D and earns a massive amount of foreign exchange through exports. These are some reasons why the government of Australia gives such high importance to the manufacturing industry.
The manufacturing industry in Australia is made up of nearly 104,000 businesses. Out of these, the top ten manufacturers are:
- Fonterra Co-op
- BP Australia
- Perth Mint
- Viva Energy
- Exxon Mobil Australia
- Amcor Pty Ltd
- BlueScope Steel
Big Manufacturing Companies by Regions and Sectors
If one takes a look at the manufacturing industry through the lens of regions, one will find that NSW is at the top with 49 out of the top 100 manufacturers carrying out their business in the state. Victoria comes second with 30 companies out of the top 100 manufacturers while Queensland occupies the third spot with 9 companies. WA and SA have 4 each, while ACT comes last with just 1 out of the top 100 manufacturers in Australia.
Food manufacturing is the leading industry in the manufacturing industry with 18 companies in the top 100 manufacturing companies. Pharmaceutical products manufacturing has 6, Beverage & Tobacco product manufacturing has 5, mineral product manufacturing has 5, paper product manufacturing has 4, Chemical products manufacturing has 4 and medical and surgical equipment manufacturing industry has 4 companies in this list.
Manufacturing Industry Contribution to Australian Economy
The total output of the manufacturing industry of Australia in 2020 was $319 billion dollars. Despite experiencing a major setback in the manufacturing industry in the year 2020 because of Coronavirus, the companies involved with manufacturing have contributed significantly to the economic recovery of the nation through restructuring of business processes and increased automation to boost productivity levels.
One reason why Manufacturing has received a big boost in Australia is the depreciation of the Australian dollar in comparison to the USD. This depreciation has increased the demand for Australian products in overseas markets. It has also generated more revenue for the manufacturers through exports and made Australian products more competitive globally.
In the last few years, Australian manufacturers were facing difficulties in competing with other Asian companies because of their cost advantage in terms of cheap labour. Now, they are focusing on value addition and specialized areas to create a demand for their products. This is evident in industries like paper products and medical equipment where Paper Australia and Visy have made giant strides despite a decline in global markets in the pulp and paper manufacturing industry.
The government of Australia and also the state governments have realized the potential of the manufacturing industry in giving a big boost to the economy of the country. Many programs have been launched to help manufacturers through grants and the adoption of cutting-edge technologies for advanced manufacturing processes. Constant help and encouragement by the government are expected to give a further push to the manufacturing industry in near future.