Updated ABS data highlights value of transport industry

Transport activity worth $122.3 billion to GDP in updated statistics

Updated ABS data highlights value of transport industry
Transport directly or indirectly contributes to nearly 8 per cent of the nation's GDP


Total transport activity contributed $122.3 billion to the Australian economy in 2015-16, according to a new experimental account the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released, accounting for 7.3 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

ABS combined the total contribution of transport activity across all industries in the Australian economy, through the Australian Transport Economic Account: An Experimental Transport Satellite Account.

While the contribution has been included in the measures of the economy, this is the first time the complete transport contribution has been transparently reported, ABS notes, with most recent data accounting for the 2015-16 financial year.

The transport industry alone accounted for $77 billion (4.6 per cent) of GDP that year.

Transport was also integral to the day-to-day business of connected industries, which added a further $45.3 billion (2.7 per cent) of GDP during this period. These contributions have remained stable over time, ABS says.

In 2015, ABS released its first snapshot of road freight movements in 13 years. Read more, here

ABS Centre for Environmental and Satellite Accounts director Jonathon Khoo says the new data helps identify the full extent of transport activities that occur in the economy.

"For example, the account highlights that businesses outside the transport industry actually used more road transport than the transport industry itself," Khoo says.

"According to this new account, the construction industry was the largest user of transport outside of the transport industry, responsible for $18.7 billion of transport use.

"This was followed by the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, reporting $9.8 billion, and mining, at $9.2 billion.

"Transport activity also contributed to the economy through employment, accounting for one million – or 8.6 per cent – of total employed persons in the economy in 2015-16.

"This data will help policy makers to better understand the direct and indirect effects of transport-related policy changes.

"The new figures will also support decisions on investment in transport infrastructure."

The Australian Transport Economic Account: An Experimental Transport Satellite Account, 2010-11 to 2015-16 was produced in partnership with the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).


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