The Hon Anthony Byrne MP, Former Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Services exports vital to Australia's economic growth

Media release

27 May 2010

Parliamentary Secretary for Trade, Anthony Byrne said services exports were of fundamental and increasing importance to the Australian economy, with this sector the fastest growing component of world trade, and the core driver of economic growth, development and employment around the globe.

Speaking at ACT Exporters' Network Breakfast today, Mr Byrne said services now make up two-thirds of the world economy.

"Australia is in a great position to leverage this sector; services account for 73 per cent of our GDP, and our services exports were worth some $53 billion in 2008-09 – a rise of more than 5 per cent on the previous year," said Mr Byrne.

"The growth areas are professional services, worth $3.7 billion, up over 12 per cent on the previous year, and education services are worth $16.6 billion.

"Australia's services exports to the US, our largest single market, topped $5.8 billion in 2008-09, which was an increase of more than 6 per cent on the previous twelve months.

"The ACT stands out amongst all Australian states and territories for the extent to which services dominate its export make-up.

"It's noteworthy that the ACT's service sector accounted for 98.9 per cent (or $1.014 billion) of the Territory's total exports in 2008/09 and almost 2% of Australia's total service exports.

"The Australian Government is working actively on a number of levels to support the growth of this sector including;

Mr Byrne said the other key aspect of supporting the continued growth of our services sector is the four-year $20 million dollar program, Building Brand Australia, which was launched internationally a few weeks ago by the Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, at the Shanghai World Expo.

"Building Brand Australia is about positioning Australia for the 21st century and about showing Australia as what it is – a country of innovation with a diverse, multifaceted, multicultural society which can produce excellent goods and services and export them to the world," said Mr Byrne.

"Australia's new brand will be critical for our services industries. Services, by their very nature, are more affected by how they are perceived than tangible products such as iron ore or wheat. One could say that image matters more where perception is a key driver for acceptance and sales."

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