Transport activity contributed $122.3 billion to GDP

Transport activity has proven to be a vital part of the Australian economy, contributing $122.3 billion to the Australian economy in 2015–16, according to an account released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Produced in partnership with the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, the ABS brought together the total contribution of transport activity across all industries in the Australian economy, through the Australian Transport Economic Account: An Experimental Transport Satellite Account. This contribution has been included in the measures of the economy, but this is the first time the complete transport contribution has been transparently reported.

The transport industry alone made a notable contribution, accounting for $77 billion (4.6 per cent) of GDP in 2015–16. Transport was also integral to the day-to-day business of all other industries. Activity in these other industries added a further $45.3 billion (2.7 per cent) of GDP during this period. These contributions have remained stable over time.

Jonathon Khoo, ABS Centre for Environmental and Satellite Accounts Director, said that the new data would help 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,” Mr Khoo said.

“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 policymakers 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,” Mr Khoo said.

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