8104.0 - Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia, 1996-97  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/07/1998   
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July 09, 1998
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Business research and development falls - ABS survey

Research and Development (R&D) undertaken by Australian businesses decreased in 1996-97 compared to earlier years, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It is the first time this has occurred since the ABS started measuring R&D in the mid 1970's.

Estimates for Business Expenditure on Research and Development (BERD) in 1996-97 fell 5 per cent in current price terms compared with 1995-96 and in average 1989-90 prices by 7 per cent. The amount of human resource effort expended on R&D fell by 3 per cent.

Despite the fall in 1996-97 the average annual rate of increase in BERD through the 1990's has been relatively strong, at 11.9 per cent in current prices, and after accounting for inflation is still 9.4 per cent.

As a result of the fall in BERD as a proportion of Australia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was estimated to be 0.80 per cent in 1996-97. In 1995-96 this ratio was 0.88 per cent, but in 1994-95 was 0.76 per cent. Over this period, Australia has maintained its relative position with other OECD member countries in respect of this ratio.

The fall in R&D has been mainly in the finance and insurance industry ( 22 per cent) and the property and business services industry ( 17 per cent). Manufacturing research and development expenditure fell by 1 per cent. In mining there was an increase of 4 per cent.

Western Australia was the only State that recorded an overall increase in BERD. It rose by 12 per cent.

Full details are in Research and Experimental Development, Business Enterprises, Australia, 1996-97 (cat. no. 8104.0), which is available in ABS Bookshops.