With proper investment, Australia’s technology sector could give the country’s economy a much needed boost, according to a report released on Thursday by economic advisory group AlphaBeta.
However, based on its current trajectory the industry risks remaining one of the worst performers in the OECD.
Australia’s tech sector contributes 122 billion Australian (83 billion U.S.) dollars every year, roughly 6.6 per cent of GDP, however in terms of its relative size, it is currently ranked second last amongst OECD countries, after Mexico.
Growing Australia’s tech industry at the same rate as countries such as the U.S., Britain, France and Japan, would add 40-50 billion Australian (27-34 billion U.S.) dollars per year to GDP over the next 20 years, the report said.
AlphaBeta director Dr. Andrew Charlton said that a "fragmented and overlapping" approach has led to the Australian tech sector falling behind that of other developed nations.
However, by enhancing collaboration among government, academia and business as well as increasing investment and access to global talent, Australia's tech industry can catch up.
"Australia can become a leader in the next major wave of global economic growth," Charlton said.
This week, Aussie tech startup Culture Amp became the country’s latest "unicorn," reaching a valuation of over 1 billion Australian (681 million U.S.) dollars.
Based in the Victorian State capital of Melbourne, Culture Amp is the second Victorian startup to reach unicorn status this year taking the total to eight, in Australian dollar terms.
Overall the tech sector employs over half a million people in Australia, as well as supporting employment in other industries by connecting customers with businesses and driving productivity improvements, the report said.