The economic output of Australia’s marine industry continued to grow despite the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on some sectors, a new report released by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) shows.
The AIMS Index of Marine Industry 2023 is the latest assessment of the contribution of Australia’s marine sector to the national economy, using data from the 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years. It reveals that Australia’s marine industry had a total output of A$118.5 billion (US$774 million) and supported 462,000 full time equivalent jobs (direct and indirect employment).
The output is A$37.3 billion greater than that reported in the previous Index. This is largely accounted for by four new sectors assessed for the first time (recreational activities other than fishing, water transport support services, defence and sewerage and drainage services) which together generated A$31.4 billion.
AIMS CEO, Dr Paul Hardisty, said the Index tracked the emergence of a two-speed marine economy in 2020-21, with marine tourism, commercial fishing and water transport among the sectors experiencing an overall decline in economic output due in part to measures introduced to address the spread of COVID-19.
“The pandemic resulted in a range of economic anomalies for the sector, with losses largely offset by increases in output from the offshore gas industry,” he said. “Despite setbacks, the Index shows the marine industry’s significant contribution to Australia’s economic wealth.”
While international tourism was badly affected by the pandemic, and domestic tourism nationally saw an overall decline, in Western Australia, there was a 19% increase in domestic tourism expenditure because the COVID-19 hard border travel restrictions meant Western Australian holiday makers visited destinations within the state instead of interstate or overseas.
Western Australia emerged as a blue economy powerhouse in the 2023 Index thanks to its offshore resources-driven economy. Output from the marine industry in Western Australia makes up 46% of the total national marine industry output in 2020-21, at $54.7 billion. Its offshore natural gas production comprised 68% of the state’s marine economic output.
Nationally, this sector experienced significant growth despite COVID-19 with output increasing 11% per year on average from $31.9 billion in 2017-18 to $43.7 billion in 2020-21.
Adapting to climate change and technology improvements could change the composition of the marine industry, with the inclusion of new sectors like offshore renewable energy, sustainable aquacultural practices and biproducts that reduce ocean pollution in the future. Australia is already starting down this pathway, with its first offshore wind development zone announced in late 2022.
Published at Thu, 25 May 2023 04:07:38 +0000