About the Food and Agribusiness Industry

Australia’s Food and Agribusiness sector includes food-related agricultural production, food processing and the major inputs to these activities. It can be divided into two subsectors:

  • food products including all food processing and beverage manufacturing, as well as key inputs to the sub-sector; and
  • agribusiness including all agriculture that relates directly to food production as well as key inputs to the sub-sector.

Australia’s Food and Agribusiness sector makes a significant contribution to the economies of regional areas through employment, business and service opportunities. The Food and Agribusiness sector employed approximately 522,000 persons in 2015 [1] and there were approximately 178,500 businesses trading in the sector in June 2015.[2]

Australia’s Food and Agribusiness industry produced $53.9 billion of industry value added in 2014–15, equivalent to 3.3 per cent of total GDP.[3] Industry value added in Food and Agribusiness has increased at an annual rate of 1.0 per cent over the past five years while labour productivity increased at an annual rate of 2.4 per cent over that time.[4]

Australia is a net exporter of Food and Agribusiness products and exports over half its agricultural produce. The value of exports of Food and Agribusiness products has grown at rate of 6.1 per cent per annum over the past ten years (year-on-year) and was worth $40.8 billion in 2015.[5] The past five years have seen both an increase in the rate of growth in Australia’s Food and Agribusiness exports as well as an increase in the sector’s share of total exports.[5] Imports of Food and Agribusiness products to Australia were worth $17.1 billion in 2015.[5]

In 2013–14, Australia’s Food and Agribusiness industries spent nearly $924 million on research and development, comprising $718 million related to food, beverage and agricultural machinery manufacturing, and $206 million related to agriculture.[6]

For more statistics on Australia’s Food and Agribusiness industry, see Data on Australia’s Food and Agribusiness Sector | .

 

[1] Departmental calculations based on Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Cat No. 6291.0.55.003 Labour Force, Australia

[2] Departmental calculations based on ABS Cat No. 8104.0 Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia

[3] Departmental calculations based on ABS Cat No. 5204.0 Australian System of National Accounts

[4] Departmental calculations based on ABS Cat No. 5206.0 Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product

[5] Departmental calculations based on ABS Cat No.5368.0 International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia

[6] Departmental calculations based on ABS Cat No. 8104.0 Research and Developmental, Businesses, Australia and ABS Cat No. 5204.0 Australian System of National Accounts

Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre

The Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda focuses on providing the right economic incentives to enable businesses to grow. These include:

  • a lower cost, business friendly environment;
  • a more skilled labour force;
  • better economic infrastructure; and
  • industry policy that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship.

The $248 million Industry Growth Centres Initiative is an industry-led approach which will drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness by concentrating investment on key industry sectors. Initially, Growth Centres are being established in six key areas where Australia has competitive strength and where there are opportunities for growth, including Food and Agribusiness.

The Food and Agribusiness Industry Growth Centre is supporting industry-led action to develop long term strategies to drive activities to:

  • increase collaboration and commercialisation;
  • improve capabilities to engage with international markets and global supply chains;
  • enhance management and workforce skills; and
  • reduce regulatory burden.

Department's role

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science is a focal point for the development and analysis of Food and Agribusiness industry policy issues within the Australian Government. In addition to providing policy advice and support to portfolio Ministers on Food and Agribusiness industry matters, the department is also responsible for promoting and maintaining links across Australian Government departments and agencies involved in implementing elements of the Government's Food and Agribusiness policies.

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