IPWG Update: Overview of Manufacturing and Agriculture Sector

SAE-A Newsletter - June, IPWG update: Overview of Health Sector

by: Kelvin Clissold - General Manager, Professional Development


Manufacturing is the process of converting raw material into a part or product. It involves producing something in large quantities using machinery. The manufacturing industry involves manufacturing products, for a variety of purposes. Such purposes include the manufacturing of machinery, tools and equipment for industries like mining, farming, construction, agriculture, etc.

Sector information

The Australian manufacturing sector makes a vital and significant contribution to the economy. The sector has been growing at an average annual rate of 0.9% since 2000 (in dollar terms), accounting for 8.7% of GDP. The sector also continues to be an important contributor to exports, accounting for around 34% of total exports.

The manufacturing sector is a significant contributor towards overall employment, with almost 1 million people currently employed by the sector. However, employment is falling, largely due to labour productivity growth rates and significant falls in employment in the Textile, Clothing and Footwear industry since the late 1980s

Manufacturing is also the primary source of technological innovation. It has the highest expenditure on R&D (26% of the total in 2009, despite only representing around 9% of GDP).

The Australian agriculture sector is a world leader in providing high quality food and fibre for a global population using innovative technologies and sustainable natural resource management. It is productive, profitable, innovative and valued for its environmental, economic and social contribution to Australian life. This sector (with Forestry and Fishing together) employ 322500 workers and accounts for 2.8% of national employment. About 88% of jobs are outside state capitals and in many regional areas it is a major employer.  

Manufacturing subsectors are:

  • 1.        Tool manufacturing
  • 2.        Fabrication metal product manufacturing*
  • 3.        Wood manufacturing
  • 4.        Machinery and equipment manufacturing*
  • 5.        Specialised parts manufacturing*
  • 6.        Electronic manufacturing*

Agriculture subsectors are:

  • 1.        Food product manufacturing
  • 2.        Beverage and tobacco product manufacturing*
  • 3.        Paper product manufacturing

*Indicates that potential employment opportunities exist in the sub sector for automotive engineers transition                                                    

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