Senate debates

Monday, 2 December 2019



3:46 pm

Photo of Anne UrquhartAnne Urquhart (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

At the request of Senator Ayres, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

  (i) each year the Harvard University Growth Lab produces the world Atlas of Economic Complexity,

  (ii) the Atlas of Economic Complexity tracks an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) for 133 countries which analyses each country's growth prospects where the diversity and complexity of existing capabilities is a strong indicator of future growth prospects,

  (iii) since 2011, Australia's relative ECI ranking has fallen from 79 to 93, driven principally by a lack of diversification of exports,

  (iv) since 2011, among 133 countries, Australia has suffered the third largest decline in its relative ECI ranking, better than Armenia and Zimbabwe but worse than Cuba, Zambia and Venezuela, and

  (v) on the basis of Australia's lack of diverse and complex industrial production at scale, particularly in its traded goods sector and reflected in its ECI, the Harvard Growth Lab and the Center for International Development forecast that Australia's future economic growth will be a mere 2.17% a year for the next decade, which is in the bottom quintile of world growth forecasts; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to turn its attention to focussing Australia's industry support policy settings on increasing the complexity, diversity and value-adding capabilities of the Australian economy, with a particular emphasis on complex product exports high up the value chain.

Photo of Jonathon DuniamJonathon Duniam (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Sue LinesSue Lines (WA, Deputy-President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Jonathon DuniamJonathon Duniam (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries) Share this | | Hansard source

The Harvard Atlas of Economic Complexity's deficiency is that it completely omits Australia's complex services exports. Services are 73 per cent of Australia's economy. They comprised 21 per cent of exports in 2018-19 and about double that on a value-added basis. Key contributors were complex fields, such as education, telecommunications and financial services.

The government's industry policy settings are already focused on the value-adding capabilities of the economy, with the record investments in our science and research agencies, an increased focus on building our advanced manufacturing sector and policies to strengthen our advantages in emerging technologies, including block chain and AI.

Question agreed to.