The Federal Government has released a comprehensive report outlining the potential for drones to boost the country’s economy and create thousands of jobs.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the report on the economic benefit of drones in Australia quantified the potential benefits and savings broader drone use could have for the nation’s economy over five, ten and 20 year periods.

“This report found the growth of drone use is expected to support 5,500 full-time jobs, on average, each and every single year over the next 20 years in Australia,” Mr McCormack said.

“Expanding drone and aerial taxi use is expected to have a major economic boost for Australia, providing a $14.5 billion increase in GDP over the next 20 years – of which $4.4 billion would be in regional areas across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

“It also found the growth of the drone sector is expected to deliver significant cost-savings to businesses of around $9.3 billion over the next 20 years, with $2.95 billion of this in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries, $2.4 billion in mining and $1.34 billion in construction.”

Mr McCormack said the jobs, the economic stimulus and other social benefits drones could have for industries such as agriculture, as well as regional communities, was transformational.

“There are many incredible drone opportunities already being explored or trialled that proves exactly that, such as using drones to deliver medical items in regional Australia, tracking sharks around our beaches or mapping bushfire movements to support our valiant firefighting efforts,” Mr McCormack said.

“In agriculture, the report found using drones could support more efficient decision making to improve profitability for our farmers by decreasing planting costs by up to 85 per cent, just one of many examples of how supporting the use of drone innovation and technology can continue to assist hard-working Australians.

“To unlock the potential economic development and job growth identified by this research, we need to support innovative applications for drones across Australian industries, while ensuring drone use is safe, secure and considerate of the community and the environment.

“We are in a unique position as a nation to grasp the benefits of drones with both hands, to further bolster our economy, create jobs, support service delivery and back stronger communities.”

Mr McCormack said the Australian Government was committed to working with industry to develop and implement a National Emerging Aviation Technologies Policy to support the development, jobs and growth of the emerging aviation sector, including drones and aerial taxis.

“We are developing a best-practice policy approach to allow growth in drone use to unlock the game-changing benefits of the technology and position Australia as a world leader in this space,” Mr McCormack said.

“We recently released an issues paper for industry consultation to inform the development of this best-practice policy approach, a move which was welcomed by the industry – and it is fantastic to have them engage on this important topic.

“Collaboration and industry involvement is crucial to the success of unlocking the opportunities drones present, which is why I encourage anyone interested who hasn’t yet had their say to get involved and provide feedback on the issues paper.”

Submissions to the National Aviation Policy Issues Paper on Emerging Aviation Technologies closed on 31 October 2020.

For further details on submissions received in response to the Issues Paper, or to view a copy of the Economic Benefit Analysis of Drones in Australia report, click here.

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