A message from Jens Goennemann

Australia is a lucky country in many ways. We have a highly skilled population, a robust legislative system and abundant natural resources.

However, if Australia wants to experience continued growth, then sooner or later we will need a plan for a resilient economy beyond our dependency on commodities. So, what are some of the alternatives?

Resiliently successful economies are those who make, who manufacture, complex things. In Harvard University’s Economic Complexity Index (ECI), which measures the diversity and sophistication of national exports, Australia fell from 57th to 93rd between 1995 and 2017 – because more than half of our exports are commodities. According to Harvard, this result indicates that our economy is less complex than expected for its income level and, as an outcome, is likely to experience slower growth in the future.

According to Philip Lowe, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, “We need to keep investing in our future…higher levels of investment spending would promote productivity growth and our collective living standards.”

Lowe lists several areas where investment would improve Australia’s prosperity, ranging from infrastructure and energy generation, through to mitigating climate change and its effects.

Stimulating business investment in innovation

Across a range of other metrics, it appears that Australia is falling behind in the global innovation race.

The recently released ISA report, Stimulating business investment in innovation, reveals that just one in three Australian businesses spends money on innovation (encompassing R&D, digitalisation, staff training and so on), and just 6 per cent of Australian businesses invest in pure R&D. Innovation provides the foundation for new businesses, new jobs, and productivity growth.

Take, for example, the Seabin Project (featured in Better Together), a highly innovative Australian manufacturer dedicated to solving economic and environmental issues. Its recent equity raising campaign has already secured over $1.2 million in investor funds. This innovation will improve their efficiencies, increase their profit margins, and reduce their carbon footprint. It will ensure the Seabin Project enjoys a sustainable future and is readily able to contribute to the growth of the Australian economy.

AMGC invests and demonstrates innovation

One swallow does not make a summer, but maybe a swarm does: Up to now, AMGC has facilitated more than 60 projects, with over $40 million of AMGC and in-kind funding committed. It is expected that over $580 million in revenue, and more than 1,500 jobs will be generated by these projects. These projects in turn are only to demonstrate how investment into innovation looks like, and we count on you and the entire manufacturing community to be inspired to innovate, to make complex things, to be smart – not just lucky.