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Western and South Australia lead export growth

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Media Release

Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Newly-released trade figures show Western Australia's share of Australian exports continues to grow, while export volumes from South Australia also enjoyed strong growth last financial year.

Western Australia accounted for 40 per cent of Australian exports last financial year, up from 35 per cent the previous year. Exports of iron ore grew by nearly 70 per cent, accounting for over half Western Australia's total merchandise exports, while exports of crude petroleum, natural gas, nickel ores and precious metal ores (excluding gold) also grew strongly.

Coal was the largest merchandise export in both New South Wales and Queensland. Services exports fell in all states and territories, except Western Australia and the ACT.

Overall, the value of Australia's exports rose 17.3 per cent in 2010-11. Price was the main driver as volumes remained steady, although with quite significant variation in growth amongst states.

South Australia's export volumes climbed 21.5 per cent, principally driven by wheat. In the Australian Capital Territory they were up 7.4 per cent and New South Wales' volumes rose 3.3 per cent. Export volumes from Queensland dropped 6.9 per cent in 2010-11 because of the impact of severe weather events, including the devastating floods that affected large parts of the State last summer.

New South Wales continued as the nation's top importer, with $A104 billion worth of goods and services imported into New South Wales in 2010-11 – amounting to 39 per cent of Australia's total imports.

Australia's Trade by State and Territory 2010-11 provides a complete statistical guide to exports and imports of goods and services for every State and Territory on a financial year basis. It is part of a series published each year by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, providing an account of Australia's international trade in goods and services.

The Department also offers a customised consultancy service, producing reports tailored to specific requirements. For further information please contact (02) 6261 3047, fax (02) 6261 3321 or email

The analyses and tables from the publication are available without charge on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

Australia's Trade by State and Territory, 2010-11

The state and territory breakdowns for exports in FY2010-11 were as follows:

Western Australia – $118.4 billion, up 30.9 per cent

The growth in total exports was driven by a 34.7 per cent rise in merchandise exports in 2010-11. In particular, strong growth was recorded in iron ore (up 67.6 per cent, accounting for over half the state's total merchandise exports), crude petroleum (up 25.5 per cent), natural gas (up 33.2 per cent), nickel ores (up 23.4 per cent) and precious metal ores (excluding gold) (up 42.1 per cent). This was offset by a slight fall in gold (down 1.9 per cent). The increase in services exports was driven by a 7.5 per cent rise in personal travel (excluding education-related) services.

NSW – $60.8 billion, up 8.4 per cent

In 2010-11, the value of NSW's largest merchandise export, coal, rose 28.8 per cent to $10.9 billion and accounted for 30.0 per cent of the state's total merchandise exports. Rises were also recorded for refined petroleum (up 21.7 per cent), copper ores (up 7.7 per cent), aluminium (up 4.0 per cent) and medicaments (up 2.3 per cent). Services exports declined 2.1 per cent to $A20.1 billion. Travel services fell 5.4 per cent, partially offset by a 28.5 per cent rise in Technical and trade related services .

Queensland – $58.0 billion, up 9.4 per cent

Coal was Queensland's biggest export, valued at $24.3 billion, accounting for 49.1 per cent of the state's total merchandise exports. Export growth also occurred in beef (up 18.2 per cent), other ores – mainly lead and zinc ores – (up 30.7 per cent), copper (up 35.4 per cent) and aluminium (up 19.5 per cent).

Victoria – $33.7 billion, up 3.9 per cent

Export growth was driven by a 6.6 per cent rise in merchandise exports, partially offset by a 4.1 per cent decline in services. Shipments of wool increased 43.3 per cent and milk, cream, whey & yoghurt rose 23.4 per cent, while passenger motor vehicles dropped 20.0 per cent. The fall in services was due mainly to an 8.7 per cent decline in travel services.

South Australia – $13.3 billion, up 28.2 per cent

Merchandise exports (up 37.6 per cent) drove the strong growth in exports in 2010-11. However, services exports declined 4.6 per cent. South Australia's biggest merchandise shipments were wheat (up 248.2 per cent), copper (up 143.6 per cent), copper ores (up 39.3 per cent) and iron ore (up 37.8 per cent). A fall was recorded in alcoholic beverages (down 9.4 per cent).

Northern Territory – $6.3 billion, up 5.8 per cent

An 8.0 per cent fall in services exports was more than offset by a 6.5 per cent increase in merchandise exports. Natural gas rose 28.3 per cent to account for 42.9 per cent of the Territory's merchandise exports. Other ores & concentrates – mainly manganese ores – rose 7.8 per cent, and pearls & gems increased 4.1 per cent. Exports of iron ore declined 33.3 per cent.

Tasmania – $3.5 billion, up 4.1 per cent

A 5.9 per cent rise in merchandise exports more than offset an 8.1 per cent decline in exports of services. Exports of aluminium (up 6.8 per cent), copper ores (up 10.9 per cent) and iron ore (up 28.7per cent) all rose, however exports of zinc, the state's largest merchandise export, fell 8.5 per cent. A fall was also recorded in wood chips (down 10.3 per cent). The fall in services exports was caused mainly by a drop in education-related travel (down 12.3 per cent).

ACT – $1.2 billion, up 9.5 per cent

Principally a services exporter, the ACT's personal travel (excluding education-related) services rose 55.3 per cent to $177 million while education-related travel fell 3.8 per cent to $305 million.

Last Updated: 24 January 2012
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