Scientific and technological innovation is key to Australia's future by driving economic growth, untapping emerging opportunities, and building our country's resilience against risks and challenges. Understanding Australia's economic environment can help you prioritise science and technology investments and make informed decisions in an ever-changing world.

CSIRO's economic insights can help industry, government, and researchers keep up-to-date on the latest economic news and how it relates to developments in science and technology. In CSIRO's short-format Economic outlook series designed to efficiently brief executives, we describe the current macroeconomic environment, provide snapshots of key Australian industries, and discuss the implications of future scientific and technological innovation in Australia.

Year in review

4 December 2020

The unprecedented pandemic has disrupted global supply chains and major Australian sectors, interrupted travel and migration, and impacted huge segments of the global and Australian workforce. Nevertheless, as we near the end of the calendar year, there is also evidence that Australia is beginning to recover from the worst of the economic shock of COVID-19.

Year in review outlook

Value of science and technology

6 November 2020

With a slowing economy and the recent impacts of COVID-19, innovation is now more important than ever. Science and technology innovation helps improve productivity, can provide social and environmental benefits, builds resilience, and enhances international competitiveness. Businesses can realise greater value from innovation by driving purposeful and solutions-focused innovation, sectoral and international collaboration, and fostering a ‘growth through innovation’ culture.

Value of science and technology outlook

 © Jeshoots


9 October 2020

Digital is considered both a vertical sector and a horizontal sector that underpins and strengthens other sectors. In 2019, the digital sector – comprising information, media and telecommunications, and computer system design and related services – was estimated to contribute $122 billion in Gross Value Added (6.6% of GDP) to the economy and the broader tech sector was estimated to employ over 580,000 workers. Opportunities to harness digital capabilities include system-wide integration of digital technologies in the health sector, digitisation of the value chain in the food and agriculture sector, and increased automation in the mineral resource sector.

Digital outlook


4 September 2020

Although the manufacturing sector's contribution to GDP has been declining, the sector is still a significant contributor to the Australian economy and supports other sectors to provide more value-added goods and services. COVID-19 has exposed supply chain vulnerabilities and dependencies on overseas manufactured products, and offers Australia an opportunity to maximise its local manufacturing capabilities to generate economic growth, local jobs and accelerate economic recovery.

Manufacturing outlook


7 August 2020

Despite a short-term demand plateau, growth will return as the recovery begins. Meeting global energy demand cleanly and cost-effectively offers Australia an opportunity to leverage its resources and capabilities to be a world-class energy and technology provider.

Energy outlook

 © Tom Fisk

Mining and minerals 

3 July 2020

While the Australian minerals sector continues to be dependent on world commodity markets of which we have very little influence, we can leverage science and technology to unlock value-adding growth opportunities and support economic recovery and resilience.

Mining and minerals outlook [pdf · 1mb]

Agriculture and food

5 June 2020

COVID-19 is driving increasing consumer focus on health and well-being, as well as a caution and selectiveness towards brands that demonstrate purpose and transparency and that align with their values. This economic outlook outlines the opportunities for Australian agriculture to leverage science and technology and drive value-added growth.

Agriculture and food outlook [pdf · 1mb]

 ©Tom Fisk

Supply chains

15 May 2020

One highly anticipated and increasingly observed impact of COVID-19 has been on supply chains. This economic outlook outlines the macroeconomics, supply chain disruptions and innovation opportunities.

Supply chains outlook [pdf · 1mb]


1 May 2020

Australian scientists, including scientists at the CSIRO Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, have been working on disease preparedness for decades, placing us in an excellent position to respond rapidly to COVID-19. Much of the current response activity builds on these decades of planning and preparation. 

Health outlook [pdf · 1mb]

Economic sovereignty

17 April 2020

While much of the focus has been on flattening the curve, developing a vaccine and the immediate economic impacts of COVID-19, there has also been discussion about the economic recovery and the post-COVID economy. In particular, concepts such as economic sovereignty, sovereign capability and self-sufficiency have gained traction. 

Economic sovereignty outlook [pdf · 1mb]

Innovation community

3 April 2020

The Australian innovation community earns its revenue from both the public and private sectors and for both R&D and professional services. The two sectors and two types of activity may be either proactive or reactive or even uncorrelated to macroeconomic conditions. 

Innovation community outlook [pdf · 1mb]

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