Chemicals and Plastics Industry Role

Australia’s chemicals and plastics industry produces products that are part of nearly everything we consume. It is vital to the food we eat, the water we drink, the hygiene products we use and countless other items we use on a daily basis.

The industry also plays a core role in Australia’s supply chains. It is the second largest manufacturing industry in Australia, with an industry value add of A$11.3 billion to GDP in 2014-15.

The chemicals and plastics industry produces goods and services that are essential for many other key industries: manufacturing, mining, agriculture, construction, healthcare, as well as many other important sectors. Of the 111 industries in Australia, the chemicals and plastics industry supplies inputs to 109 of them.

Generalised inputs and outputs from the Australian chemicals and plastics industry

Generalised inputs and outputs from the Australian chemicals and plastics industry
(Source: CSIRO Publication, Strategic Directions – Towards sustained growth of the Australian chemicals and plastics industry 2013)

As with other industries, the chemicals and plastics industry faces some major challenges and opportunities in the years ahead. Growth in Asia and the developing world presents an enormous opportunity to sell products into new global markets, but also presents the challenge of maintaining domestic capacity in the face of an increasing supply of cost-competitive imports.

Over the next several decades, the world will also see a number of social, economic, and environmental changes that could impact the industry. New environmental regulations and social pressures could present great opportunities for the chemicals and plastics industry to supply new, innovative environmentally-friendly, socially-conscious products to downstream industries. At the same time, a balanced regulatory environment will be necessary to insure a well-functioning industry.

Further information can be found on the CSIRO website and the Elements in Everything and Strategic Directions reports.

Chemicals and plastics industry Data Card

The department’s data card is updated regularly and provides figures and graphs that show the current status of the chemicals and plastics industry.  The information is collated from a selection of raw statistics located on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website. 

The previous edition of the data card is available for historical purposes:

 

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