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Science crucial to economic growth, worth $145 billion directly to GDP

The contribution to Australia’s economy by maths and
science – nearly $300 billion annually including flow-on benefits – has been measured
for the first time.

Fairfax and others report that the study, The
Importance of Advanced Physical and Mathematical Sciences to the Australian
, was commissioned by Chief Scientist Ian Chubb and the Australian
Academy of Sciences.

It was carried out by the Centre For International
Economics analysis and considered maths, physics, chemistry and the earth sciences

“It is too easy to take the benefits of science
and innovation for granted, and this report shows that the knowledge from these
disciplines supports and enhances economic activity which benefits all
Australians,” said Chubb of the report..

The West Australian notes that the report found the
direct contribution to GDP by these disciplines was $145 billion a year. They
also generated over 760,000 jobs.

When considering the flow-on impact, the contribution
was $292 billion a year, or 22 per cent of GDP.

According to the report’s authors, the figures were
conservative estimates.

The oil and gas sector was among the biggest winners
from scientific know-how, seeing 50 per cent of gross value add created through

The report linked new knowledge to economic growth, noting that without it, “any of the other factors driving economic growth will
eventually encounter diminishing returns, and growth will slow.

“A future without
continued scientific development would involve lower economic growth simply
because the proportion of growth that would otherwise come from growth in
knowledge would be reduced.”


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