Sector-specific opportunities

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Opportunities for UK businesses in Australia
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Rail infrastructure

Australia’s rail industry has been changing rapidly as a result of numerous reform initiatives. New South Wales and Victoria are each undertaking their largest public transport infrastructure projects ever, with the Sydney Metro and Melbourne Metro.

British companies are already enjoying success in the Australian rail sector, but there are still significant opportunities available, including:

  • service and operations

  • design and engineering consulting

  • training and education

  • environmental planning and geotechnical consulting

  • supply chain materials

  • remote monitoring and braking systems

  • signalling and telecommunications

  • maintenance – rolling stock and infrastructure

  • tunnelling and drilling specialists

  • ventilation

  • fire and safety technologies

  • financing and PPP Opportunities

  • logistics

Contact: for more information on rail opportunities in Australia.

[Source: Department for International Trade/ (Aug 2015)]


Road infrastructure

The states of Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales are investing more than £16.5 billion on highways projects over the next eight years.

There will be major opportunities for UK businesses in:

  • consultancy

  • construction

  • supply

  • operation

  • maintenance

Projects include:

Contact the DIT High Value Opportunities team at: to register your interest in this opportunity.

[Source: Department for International Trade/ (Aug 2015)]


Sports stadia and urban renewal

The 2018 Commonwealth Games will be held in the Gold Coast, Queensland. See the following link:

It will provide opportunities for games infrastructure including:

  • stadia

  • passenger rail

  • sports village facilities

The Federal Government’s ‘Nation Building programme’ also presents opportunities across Australia in the transformation of both cities and regional areas to meet the demands of a growing population.

Areas of opportunity include:

  • residential housing

  • health care buildings

  • schools

  • public transport networks

  • work to relieve congested road networks

There are also opportunities to support demand for ‘Smart Cities’.

Contact: for more information on sports stadia and urban renewal opportunities in Australia.

[Source: Department for International Trade/ (Aug 2015)]


Software and communications

The ‘National Broadband Network’ is the biggest infrastructure project in Australia’s history, costing A$35.7 billion. The project runs for the next eight to ten years and aims to deliver a fast broadband network to 95% of the Australian population.

Most of the opportunities for British companies will become available as the network expands. These opportunities will be in:

  • e-health

  • e-learning

  • digital entertainment

  • e-commerce for mobile

Contact: for more information on software and communications opportunities.

[Source: Department for International Trade/ (Aug 2015)]


Healthcare and medicines

Australia has an annual healthcare spend of around A$140 billion. It is the 11th largest globally and highest per capitaspend in the Asia Pacific region. It is expected to grow at around 4% per year for the next five years.

Opportunities are widely available for UK companies looking to sell quality medical devices, products and services to hospitals. Additionally, with a growing and ageing population and the new National Disability Insurance Scheme there are great opportunities for providers of enabling and assistive technologies.

Australia is the leading location for Biotechnology in Asia-Pacific and the fourth largest biotech market in the world.

Opportunities are widely available for British companies looking to market services in drug discovery, development, clinical trials and contract manufacturing. For biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies there are opportunities to partner with world-leading research institutions.

Spend on pharmaceuticals in Australia is estimated to be A$14.50 billion with around A$9.6 billion (around two-thirds) on pharmaceutical imports. The local industry is dominated by the major pharmaceutical groups who all have considerable manufacturing facilities. There is also a thriving local generics industry. Medicines are subsidised by the government under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

There are opportunities for UK companies with niche products, generics and unique formulations under the special access scheme to enter the market.

Contact: for more information on health and medicines opportunities.

[Source: Department for International Trade/ (Aug 2015)]


Food and drink

There is an increasing appetite in Australia for a range of international, gourmet and specialty food and confectionery products. Thriving ‘international’ sections can be found in the dominant supermarket chains. Specialty retailers are also prospering. Upmarket retailers and distributors have exploited a demand for traditional, ethnic and innovative offers across the whole food spectrum.

There is already a strong UK offering across these areas and opportunities will continue with the ongoing expansion of premium and specialty food offerings.

There are also considerable opportunities for British companies within the Australian drinks market.

Opportunities in the non-alcoholic market exist for:

  • tea and coffee (successful UK imports but the market is crowded)

  • specialty retailers providing non-mainstream offerings with a demonstrable Unique Selling Point (USP)

A segment of the alcoholic beverage market is migrating from quantity to quality and is becoming enthusiastic about premium products. Generally the cost of imported liquor will mean that any product has to find space with specialist retailers within their ‘International’ section. Australians appreciate British alcohol products and there is considerable potential for growth in interesting beverages. These include:

  • premium and craft ales & ciders

  • unique malts, vodkas, gins and other spirits

Distribution is usually via a specialist importer/distributor rather than direct with the major supermarket groups.

Contact: for more information about opportunities in the Food and drink sector.

[Source: Department for International Trade/ (Aug 2015)]


E-Commerce and retail

Retail continues to be a strong growth sector in Australia. In the year ending May 2015, it had a turnover in excess of £140 billion.

E-commerce, contributing over A$16.9 billion, is now seen as a practical and safe alternative to traditional bricks and mortar retailing. E-commerce growth is set to continue exponentially with further developments in mobile technology, social media and the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

There are opportunities in:

  • sporting and outdoor goods

  • cosmetics and beauty products

  • books

  • media

  • fashion

British exports to Australia in apparel and clothing accessories increased by 167% to £132 million in 2012 (700% since 2009). They are now in the top ten exports to Australia.

Contact: for more information about opportunities in the e-commerce and retail sector.

[Source: Department for International Trade/ (Aug 2015)]


Fintech and professional services

Fintech in Australia is in the very early stages of development and ripe for experienced British fintech companies to enter the market.

Australians are early adopters of new technology and there is a growing openness to traditional bank alternatives. Peer-to-peer lending is growing quickly and there are multiple start-ups operating in the payments sphere, particularly mobile payments. As of yet, no dominant leaders have emerged.

Online apps, software and publishing also present huge opportunities for British financial services innovation. Data analytics and online currency are also areas of potential growth.

More widely there are opportunities for British professional services. Many Australian government departments and businesses are outsourcing their services to specialist firms to refocus on core strengths and cut expenditure. The business and professional services sectors often outsource tasks outside their range of expertise. This includes:

  • human resources

  • recruitment services

  • customer analytics

  • accountancy providers

  • consultancy (particularly management, project management and engineering)

Contact: for more information about opportunities in this area.

[Source: Department for International Trade/ (Aug 2015)]


Policing and security

Although still dominated by the government, the defence and security sector in Australia is becoming increasingly connected with the private sector.

Statistics in recent years show a general decline in reported ‘break and enters’, robbery and other theft. However, cautious households and businesses are increasingly investing in security and preventive measures. In a climate of heightened global fear of terrorism, increasing internet usage and accompanying cyber-crime, demand for security and investigative services is rising.

Opportunities for UK companies include:

  • training

  • cooperation with Government agencies

  • hi-tech expertise

  • surveillance

  • cyber security

  • natural hazard response

  • critical buildings resilience technology

  • consulting

  • anti-terrorism response capabilities

  • medical supplies for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) threats and pandemics

  • hi-tech equipment and specialised kit

There is also growing potential for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in a variety of areas such as:

  • prisons management

  • border security surveillance

  • mass gathering events security

Contact Export Control Organisation (ECO) at: to check that your goods meet the legal requirements for export.

Contact: for more information about opportunities in policing and security.

[Source: Department for International Trade/ (Aug 2015)]


Offshore Liquid Natural Gas (LNG)

Australia is currently the world’s third largest exporter of LNG. With another seven projects under development, worth over A$200 billion, Australia is on course to be the world’s largest exporter of LNG by 2018.

Many companies with UK headquarters have offices in Australia and have secured contracts on existing and future projects.

As the focus for the industry moves from construction to operations, opportunities in the LNG sector may be available for companies in:

  • operations and maintenance services

  • environmental services

  • specialised hi-tech equipment

  • decommissioning (in the future)

Contact: for more information on LNG opportunities available in Australia.

[Source: Department for International Trade/ (Aug 2015)]



Australia is one of the world’s largest mining and resource producers. The Australian resources sector has grown from 5% to 10% of its economy in the last decade and many of Australia’s top ten exports are all from the resources sector.

Mining investment peaked in 2013-14. There will be a significant uplift in mining output over the next few years as projects are completed and start operating.

As the price of iron-ore and other minerals has dropped, the focus for mining companies is on saving costs whilst increasing productivity.

Many British companies are already heavily involved in Australia’s mining industry. Opportunities are likely to be most prominent in:

  • exploration and analysis

  • engineering services

  • communications

  • remote control technology

  • decommissioning

  • construction equipment

Contact: for more information on the mining opportunities available in Australia.

[Source: Department for International Trade/ (Aug 2015)]


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