Numerous opportunities exist for export oriented small business in Australia. With a vast land area and many resources, and a comparatively small population, it is exports that could provide volumes to Australian business.
AgriBusinesses include the following:
- Aquaculture: This industry seeks to make up for shortfalls in natural fish stocks. Supported by facilitating R&D, aquaculture industry generated $743 million worth of produce in 2002-03. Products included bluefin tuna, pearl oysters, Atlantic salmon, prawns and edible oysters.
- Cereals: Cereals industry covers both farming and processing. Grain crops exceed $4 billion and the breakfast market alone is around $750 million. Wheat is a major export product while oats, barley, rice, maize and sorghum are grown for animal feed, seeds and downstream processing for human consumption.
- Dairy: Australia is the third largest exporter of dairy products, with exports in excess of $2.5 billion. The vast land area has created a thriving rural dairy farming industry worth nearly $3 billion and downstream processing produced $9 billion worth of dairy products. Asia and the Middle East are the major export markets.
- Forestry: With 164 million hectares of forest cover and an industry turnover of $15 billion, forestry contributes a major part of Australian economy. Forestry yields native hardwood and plantation timbers – both softwood species and hardwood. Value addition produces paper products, woodchips, timber products such as plywood, laminates and fibreboard. As imports exceed exports, there are opportunities for import substitution.
- Horticulture: Australia’s location in the southern hemisphere results in counterseasonal production of horticultural products. These products find northern hemisphere markets where these are out-of-season. And Australia’s diverse climates enable growing a range of produce. Potatoes, citrus, apples and pears, bananas and non-wine grapes are the major products. Organic farming is a major opportunity.
- Meat: Australia has a meat products indsutry that ranks among the largest and most technically advanced. Processed meat turnover was $13 billion. Beef, lamb, chicken and pork are the basic industries. New industries like kangaroo meat, emu, crocodile, venison, ostrich and duck are also emerging. By packaging the meat with other ingredients, processors are enlarging the market for meat products.
- Wine: Australian wine exports are growing and is around $2.5 billion. Bottled and cask wines from a wide range of grape varieties are produced. The industry and government are working together to enhance the competitiveness of Australian wines using both technology and marketing.
Australia is strong in molecular sciences that underlie biotechnology. The anti-inflenza drug, Relenza, and the new papilloma vaccine for preventing cervical cancer, were initiated in Australian laboratories. Biotechnology as applied to plants, domestic animals and medicine is the focus in Australia.
Agribiotech helps improve plant and animal production and create new high-value products. Examples Include obtaining biofuels from plants, developing pest & weed resistant plant species, improving yields and productivity in farming and development of products with nutritional and therapeutic value.
- Oil & Gas: Australia has been rated high in attractiveness for petroleum exploration. The country is already an exporter of oil and gas.
- Coal: Australia is the world’s largest exporter of black coal and the huge reserves in the country would enable Australia to meet the increasing worldwide demand.
- Renewable Energy: Australia has strengths in wind energy, photovoltaics, solar hot water, waste-to-energy conversion and hydro systems. Components needed by the industry are available locally. Wind speeds and sunlight are adequate to establish viable industries. Tapping the local market for energy becomes a feasible proposition in this context. Particularly against the background of the availability of a range of incentives, rebates and grants offered by state and federal government agencies.
- Biofuels: This is another field where government support is available for producers. Ethanol and biodiesel are examples of biofuels.
Information & Communication Techonologies
Australia is a nation of sophisticated ICT users, who has on tap an excellent communications infrastructure. This is supplemented by R&d facilities, advanced skills and training. The country itself is a large market for ICT. All these have helped ICT investors earn good returns.
- Wireless: Mobile phone use had increased dramatically in Australia. 82 percent of Australian population had a mobile phone subscription. SMS is one reason for this popularity and businesses have begun to use SMS to offer new services and develop marketing solutions. Both GSM and CDMA standards are in wide use. Australia also has a strong wireless R&D and entrepreneurs could develop and market new solutions using the expertise available in the country.
- E-Security: Internet use at home and office is widespread in Australia, thus becoming an excellent market for e-security solutions from biometrics to cryptography to antivirus software. The market will grow with increasing awareness of security issues.
- Electronic Entertainment: Computer games has been bringing in more revenues than either film or music industries. Back in 1982, the country produced The Hobbit, that topped sales charts across Europe. Over 50 companies employing a thousand persons produce hundreds of games sold globally. Australians themselves spend over $2 million a day on interactive computer games. Another area consist of special effects in films like The Matrix that had a strong Australian contribution. Australia also provided shooting locations for films like The Matrix, Star Wars Trilogy and Scooby Doo.
- Photonics: Photonic underlie optical telecommunications, with a $223 billion dollar market. Photonics also contribute to energy generation, home security, diagnostic equipment and sensing devices. Australia is among the top centers of excellence in photonics, the application of light.
At $70 billion of exports, manufacturing sector contributes most to Australia’s export earnings. Over one million persons work in this sector worth $265 billion in revenues. Machinery & Equipment, Petroleum, Coal & Chemicals, Food, Beverage & Tobacco and Metal Products contributed most.
Small businesses employing less than 20 persons each contributed around one sixth of total value addition in the manufacturing sector. These businesses employed slightly less than one fourth of the workforce.
Imports are also significant for manufactured products. Machinery & Equipment, Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Leather products were the major imports.
Copper, Nickel, Gold and Diamonds, Iron Ore, Bauxite and other minerals are present in Australia. The country has developed expertise in mining technology which is exported to many countries.
The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) program of Australia encourages cutting edge technology research such as nanotechnology. CRCs form spin-off companies to commercialize research and development. For example, Plantic Technologies Pty Ltd is producing biodegradable plastic alternative technology.
Australia is a good location for establishing a service support base. The domestic market for services is around $127 billion. Additionally, Australia is an ideal location for servicing nearby Asia Pacific markets, and even global markets. The country has excellent IT and Communications infrastructure, skilled personnel and top class innovation systems. Above all, it has a business-friendly environment.
A few of the high value service sectors are:
- Environment Management Services: With experience of managing many kinds of natural resources across diverse environmental conditions, Australia has accumulated environmental management expertise.
- Information Technology & Communication Services: With excellent infrastructure, competitive bandwidth capacity, a highly skilled workforce and location in a unique time zone, Australia is in an ideal position to provide ICT services.
- Education Services: More than 180000 students from around the world come to Australia for university, vocational, business and language training.
- Business Services: Chartered accountants, international law firms, computer service companies, international advertising firms and pest control companies have found Australia an exellent market.
- Health Services: Demand for health services is increasing with even global health markets being serviced from here.