Manufacturing in Australia

Manufacturing in Australia

Although primary production is the main industry in Australia, manufacturing in Australia is still a significant industry.



The contribution of manufacturing to Australia's gross domestic product peaked in the 1960s at 25%, and had dropped to 13% by 2001–2[1] and 10.5% by 2005–6[2]. In 2004–05, the manufacturing industry exported products worth $67,400 million, and employed 1.1 million people[3]

In 2000–2001, $3300 million was spent on assistance to the manufacturing industry, with 40% going to the textile, clothing and footwear industry and the passenger motor vehicle industry.[4] At that time, manufacturing accounted for 48% of exports, and 45% of Australian research and development.[1]

In 2008, the breakdown of manufacturing by state, and the fraction of gross state product (GSP) which it contributed, were as follows[5]

State Fraction of manufacturing Fraction of GSP
New South Wales 32 10
Victoria 28 12
Queensland 17 9
South Australia 8 13
Western Australia 10 8
Tasmania 3 13
Northern Territory 1 7
Australian Capital Territory 0.5 2

Between 2001 and 2007, the approximate breakdown by industry changed as follows[5]

Industry Percent in 2001 Percent in 2007
Food, beverages and tobacco 19 19
Textile, clothing and footwear 5 3
Wood and paper products 7 6
Printing, publishing and recorded media 10 10
Petroleum, coal and chemical products 15 14
Non-metal mineral products 4 5
Metal products 18 19
Machinery and equipment 17 19
Other manufacturing 4 4

Food processing

The food and beverage manufacturing industry is the largest in Australia. The sectors include the following:[6]

Sector Turnover(2005–06, $millions)
Meat and meat products 17,836
Beverage and malt manufacturing 13,289
Dairy products 9,991
Sugar and confectionery manufacturing 6,456
Fruit and vegetable processing 4,672
Bakery products 4,005
Flour mill and cereal food manufacturing 3,692
Oil and fat manufacturing 1,547
Seafood processing 1,330 *
Other food manufacturing 8,554
Total 71,372

* Before the 2010 closure of the Port Lincoln Tuna cannery

Textile industry

Until trade liberalisation in the mid 1980s, Australia had a large textile industry[citation needed]. This decline continued through the first decade of the 21st century[5]. Since the 1980s, tariffs have steadily been reduced; in early 2010, the tariffs were reduced from 17.5 percent to 10percent on clothing, and 7.5–10% to 5% for footwear and other textiles.[7] As of 2010, most manufacturing, even by Australian companies, is performed in China.

Motor vehicles

As of 2010, three companies manufacture cars in Australia: GM-Holden, Ford and Toyota. Mitsubishi Motors Australia ceased production in March 2008.

Holden bodyworks are manufactured at Elizabeth, South Australia and engines are produced at the Fishermens Bend plant in Port Melbourne, Victoria. In 2006, Holden's export revenue was just under $1300 million.[8]

Ford has two main factories, both in Victoria: located in the Geelong suburb of Norlane and the northern Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows.

Until 2006, Toyota had factories in Port Melbourne and Altona, Victoria. Since then, all manufacturing has been at Altona. In 2008, Toyota exported 101,668 vehicles worth $1900 million[9].

Chemical industry

Australia has a chemical industry, including the manufacture of many petrochemicals[10].

Many mining companies, such as BHP Billiton and Comalco, perform initial processing of raw materials[11]. Similarly, Australia's agriculture feeds into the chemical industry. Tasmania produces 40% of the worlds raw narcotic materials[12]; some of this is locally converted into codeine and other pharmaceuticals in Tasmania by Tasmanian Alkaloids, owned by Johnson and Johnson, while GlaxoSmithKline processes some of the resulting poppy straw in Victoria.

Currently Australian-made products

The following Australasian-made products are still fairly readily available. For more boutique products, see the search engines below.

  • Cars
    • Toyota makes some medium-large cars (such as Camry) in Altona, Victoria.
    • Holden and Ford make large cars at various factories around Australia
  • Cleaning products
    • Velvet soap is made by Unilever
    • Solvol soap is made by the WD-40 company
  • Clothing
  • Food: Many staples are still manufactured in Australia. However many manufactured products such as sauces are imported.
  • Hardware
    • Some Dulux paint is made in the Hutt Valley (Wellington, NZ).[13]
    • Lofty Ladders makes ladders
    • Sutton Tools
  • White goods

Australian/NZ icons no longer made in Australia/NZ

Many brands which used to be manufactured in Australasia no longer are. The following are notable examples.

  • Clothing
    • Pacific brands moved their manufacturing offshore in 2009, causing intense negative publicity.
  • Tools

See also


  1. ^ a b Productivity Commission (2004). Trends in Australian Manufacturing. 
  2. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (7 February 2008). "1309.0 – Australia at a Glance, 2008". Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "Advanced Manufacturing". Australian Government. Austrade. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  4. ^ "Australian Manufacturing: A Brief History of Industry Policy and Trade Liberalisation". Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c "Australian manufacturing—structural trends 2001–02 to 2006–07". 24 November 2008. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  6. ^ "About Australia: Food Industry". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  7. ^ Peter Anderson (1 January 2010). "ACCI Welcomes textiles and car tariff cuts (ACCI media release 003/10)". Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "Vehicle Exports". GM Holden. Retrieved 23 August 2008. 
  9. ^ ""Exports"". Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  10. ^ "Australia's chemical industry". Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  11. ^ "Chemicals in Australia". Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  12. ^ "Brand Tasmania". Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  13. ^ "Dulux investing $28m in Hutt factory" (Press release). New Zealand: Wellington Scoop. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  14. ^ "Manufacturing – Electrolux and Geoff Hort Engineering". Orange City Council. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 

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