Latest release

Australian Transport Economic Account: An Experimental Transport Satellite Account

This publication presents estimates of the total contribution of transport activity across the economy, including GDP, value added and employment

Reference period
2010-11 to 2015-16
Released
31/10/2018
Next release Unknown
First release

Overview of the Australian Transport Economic Account

The Australian Transport Economic Account (ATEA) is an experimental Transport Satellite Account that provides a more comprehensive picture of transport by bringing together components of transport activity throughout the Australian economy. Satellite accounts are adjunct to, and integrated with, Australia’s System of National Accounts. This account has been compiled on a basis consistent with the national accounts, but with some adjustments to reclassify and identify transport activity across all industries, where transport is defined as the movement of people or goods from one location to another.

Total transport activity, as defined in this account, includes activity conducted on a For-hire basis, undertaken by businesses classified to the Transport, postal and warehousing industry in the National Accounts, and also provides a new, explicit measure of In-house transport activity undertaken outside this industry.

Total transport activity includes:

  • For-hire transport activity undertaken by businesses within the Transport, postal and warehousing industry, e.g. air passenger transport by commercial airlines, or transport of goods by freight transport businesses; and
  • In-house transport activity of businesses in non-transport industries, including:
     
    • ancillary transport activity which is not intended for market, and is consumed in the production of an industry’s primary output. An example of this activity is a retail business using their own truck to deliver goods from a warehouse to the retail outlet.
    • secondary production of transport activity for market where a fee is charged. For example, where that same retail business then uses their own truck to deliver the goods to the customer for a delivery fee.

Why is transport important to the economy?

Traditionally defined, the transport industry makes a notable contribution to Australia's economy.

However, in addition to being an important industry in its own right, transport activities are an integral component of day-to-day business activities in all other industries. Thus transport activities will influence both the productivity and costs of all industries - not just the transport industry as it is traditionally defined in the national accounts.

A key role of this Transport Economic Account is to identify the full extent of transport activities, beyond that undertaken by the traditionally defined Transport industry. It draws together a picture of transport activity conducted on a For-hire basis by the traditionally defined transport industry, as well as providing a new, explicit measure of transport activity undertaken In-house by other industries in the economy.

For example, the Australian Transport Economic Account includes activity undertaken by commercial airlines and freight transport businesses to provide passenger and freight transport services for-hire, but will also provide an explicit measure of transport activity undertaken by other industries. Examples of this In-house activity include: mining companies transporting raw materials from mine to port using their own railways; retail operators moving goods from warehouse to retail outlets using their own trucks; and farmers transporting produce from their farm to places of storage or further processing.
 

Total transport activity in the economy

Total transport activity in the economy

Total transport activity in the economy

Total transport activity in the economy showing examples of transport activities by the transport industry as well as non-transport industries.

Transport activities undertaken by non-transport industries can utilise in-house transport or for-hire transport to reach their destination.

Examples of in-house transport in non-transport industries include: companies in the construction industry moving finished goods from a warehouse to a building site using their own trucks; companies in the mining industry transporting raw materials from mine to port using their own freight trains; commercial fishing operators (part of Division A: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Industry) transporting product to a port using their own water vessels; and companies in the health services industry utilising their own aircraft to access rural patients. Non-transport industries can also utilise for-hire transport services directly from the transport industry to transport their product to destinations.

Transport activities undertaken by the transport industry include transportation of passengers and freight by road, rail, water or air. These services are available for-hire to other industries.

*Part of Division A: Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

In 2015-16, the Transport, postal and warehousing industry (which represents For-hire transport activity), contributed 4.6% ($77.0b) of total GDP. The Australian Transport Economic Account shows that In-house transport activity, that component which is undertaken outside of the Transport industry, contributed a further 2.7% ($45.3b) to GDP in 2015-16. Thus Total transport activity, as defined in the Australian Transport Economic Account, contributed 7.4% ($122.3b) of GDP in 2015-16.

Total transport Gross Value Added, a measure of the value of industry production, was $125.3b in 2015-16. This places Total transport activity fourth in terms of industry contribution to the economy behind Rental, hiring and real estate services ($194.2b), Financial and insurance services ($143.0b), and Construction ($129.9b), but ahead of industries such as Health care and social assistance ($113.1b), Manufacturing ($100.7b) and Mining ($97.7b).

Total transport also employed around 1.0 million persons in 2015-16, or 8.6% of total employed persons in Australia.

In-house transport had an even greater impact on certain modes of transport. For instance, In-house transport activity contributes as much as 60.6% of Total road transport output. Road transport is considered the most accessible mode of transport outside of the For-hire transport industry as road infrastructure is readily accessible and extensive, and has lower capital investment costs in comparison with Air or Rail transport.

The Australian Transport Economic Account will enable policy makers to assess the full contribution of transport activity to the economy, helping them better understand the direct and indirect effects of policy changes, track improvements in productivity, and better allocate investment in transport infrastructure. It will also help businesses to better understand transport productivity and costs compared to other industries.

Contribution of total transport activity to Gross Domestic Product

Total transport activity contributed 7.4% to GDP in 2015-16

In 2015-16, Total transport activity contributed $122.3b to the Australian economy, representing 7.4% of the Australian Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

  • For-hire transport activity, represented in the national accounts as the Transport, postal and warehousing industry, contributed 4.6% ($77.0b) to Australian GDP in 2015-16.
  • In-house transport activity, which is undefined in the national accounts, contributed a further 2.7% ($45.3b) to GDP in 2015-16.
     
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Total transport share of GDP has remained steady since 2013-14, following strong growth in 2011-12 and more moderate growth in 2012-13.

  • The contribution of Total transport to GDP increased by 11.9% to $113.3b in 2011-12. This was the result of strong increases in both In-house (15.9%) and For-hire (9.3%) contribution, driven by an increase in the use of automotive fuel relating to road transport activity.
  • Moderate growth of 4.4% in the contribution of Total transport to GDP in 2012-13 was driven by increases in the contribution of In-house and For-hire transport of 3.2% and 5.1% respectively.
  • Total transport's contribution to GDP remained flat in 2013-14 at due to sluggish growth in In-house and For-hire transport contribution of 0.9% and 0.6% respectively.
  • Tempered growth of 0.8% in the contribution of Total transport to GDP in 2014-15 was the result of a fall in the contribution of In-house transport (-4.1%) driven by a decline in In-house transport activity in the Mining and Construction industries. This was offset by a corresponding increase of 3.9% in the contribution of the For-hire industry to GDP.
  • In 2015-16, the contribution of Total transport to GDP increased by 1.9% with strength observed in both In-house (1.1%) and For-hire transport activity (2.3%).
     
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  1. Source: Australian System of National Accounts, 2016-17 (cat. No. 5204.0)

Transport Gross Value Added

Gross Value Added (GVA) is a measure of the value of industry production. By excluding net taxes, GVA provides a more accurate measure of economic activity by industry.

Total transport activity contributed more to the economy than mining in 2015-16

In 2015-16, Total Transport contributed $125.3b in GVA, representing 8.1% of industry GVA.

  • For-hire transport, the Transport, postal and warehousing industry in the national accounts, contributed 63.9% ($80.1b) of Total transport GVA.
  • In-house transport activity accounted for the remaining 36.1% ($45.3b) of Total transport GVA.
     

By industry, In-house transport activity was most prevalent in Construction, which accounted for 6.7% ($8.4b) of Total transport GVA, followed by Public administration and safety, which includes Defence (4.5%, $5.6b) and Mining (3.8%, $4.7b).

Relative to the GVA of other industries, as stated in the national accounts, Total transport GVA ($125.3b) would place it as the fourth largest industry in the Australian economy in 2015-16, behind Rental, hiring and real estate services ($194.2b), Financial and insurance services ($143.0b) and Construction ($129.9b), and ahead of Health care and social assistance ($113.1b).

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  1. Industry GVA as presented in Australian System of National Account, 2016-17 (cat. No. 5204.0)
  2. Division O: Public administration and public safety includes defence

Transport output by mode

Majority of road transport output was produced In-house

In 2015-16, the economic output from Total transport activity was valued at $271.1b in basic prices.

Of the four primary modes of transport:

  • Road transport activity generated $137.2b in economic output. The majority was produced through In-house transport activity, which accounted for 60.6% of road transport output. For-hire transport activity contributed 39.4%.
  • Rail transport activity generated $17.3b in output, predominately through For-hire transport activity, which accounted for 83.5%. In-house transport activity generated 16.5% of all rail transport output.
  • Water transport activity generated $18.2b in output, 53.8% of which was produced through For-hire transport and 46.2% produced through In-house transport.
  • Air transport activity produced $27.1b in economic output, with For-hire transport activity generating 94.0% of air transport output, and In-house transport activity generating the remaining 6.0%.
     

Road transport is considered the most accessible mode of transport outside of the For-hire transport industry as road infrastructure is readily accessible and extensive, and has lower capital investment costs in comparison with air or rail transport.

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  1. Excludes Other For-hire transport, which includes Postal, courier pick-up and delivery services and Transport support, warehousing and storage services.

In-house transport activity

Use of transport by industries outside of the For-hire industry provides an indication of the level and mode of In-house transport activity within a particular industry.

Construction industry greatest user of In-house transport

In 2015-16:

  • The Construction industry was the greatest user of In-house transport, contributing $18.7b (20.1%) to In-house transport use in non-transport industries. The majority of transport activity in the Construction industry related to Road transport, which accounted for 97.8% of all transport use within the industry.
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing was the second largest user of In-house transport, accounting for $9.8b (10.5%) of In-house transport use in non-transport industries. Again, Road transport was the predominant mode used, accounting for 76.3% of transport use within the industry. A further 22.0% of In-house transport use in Agriculture, forestry and fishing was attributed to Water transport.
  • Transport activity in the Mining industry contributed $9.2b (9.9%) of In-house transport use. Road transport contributed the majority of In-house transport use in the industry, accounting for 71.4%. The Mining industry was also the largest user of In-house Rail transport, which accounted for 27.7% of In-house transport use in the industry.
  • Public administration and safety, which includes Defence, also contributed $9.2b (9.9%) of In-house transport use. Public administration and safety was the only industry for which road was not the predominant mode used. Water transport was the predominant mode, accounting for 46.8% of In-house transport use in the industry. This was followed by Road and Air transport, which made up 43.3% and 9.9% respectively. Public administration and safety was the largest user of In-house transport for both Air and Water transport.
     

The graphs below present total In-house transport use of the top 10 industries and relative contribution of each mode within each industry.

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  1. Division O: Public administration and safety includes defence
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  1. Division O: Public administration and safety includes defence

nb. Data rounded to one decimal place. Values <0.05 appear as 0.

In-house transport intermediate inputs

Intermediate inputs consists of the value of goods and services consumed as inputs by a process of production (excluding the consumption of fixed capital). In-house transport intermediate inputs can be classed as:

  • Transport specific inputs, such as Fuel or Repairs and Maintenance, which are specifically related to the production of transport activity; and
  • Other intermediate inputs, which are those goods or services consumed in producing In-house transport that are not specific to transport. Examples include office supplies and accounting services.
     

Fuel was the largest transport specific input to In-house transport activity

In 2015-16, Fuel was the largest transport specific input used in producing In-house transport, accounting for 45.8% of all transport specific inputs. Repairs and Maintenance accounted for 37.7% and Rent, Leasing and Hiring accounted for a further 15.3%.

By mode:

  • In-house road transport production predominantly used Fuel, which accounted for 46.1% of transport specific inputs for that mode. This was followed by Repairs and Maintenance (37.2%) and Rent, Leasing and Hiring (15.4%).
  • For In-house rail transport, Repairs and Maintenance was the largest transport specific input, accounting for 86.6% of the total, followed by Fuel (11.6%) and Rent, Leasing and Hiring (1.5%).
  • Fuel was again the largest transport specific input to In-house water transport, contributing 55.7% of total transport specific inputs, followed by Repairs and Maintenance (31.2%) and Rent, Leasing and Hiring (12.6%).
  • For In-house air transport, Repairs and Maintenance was the largest transport specific input (45.7%), followed by Fuel (28.7%) and Rent, Leasing and Hiring (23.8%).
     
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  1. Excludes other intermediate inputs not specific to transport

Transport related employment

Every employed person has a job, however, because they can have multiple jobs, measures of employment and measures of jobs are conceptually different. Household surveys typically estimate employment, such that they provide data on the number of people in the labour force, not the number of jobs in the economy. Further information can be found in the Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001)

Another measure of employment is the total number of jobs in the economy, as presented in Labour Account Australia, Quarterly Experimental Estimates (cat. no. 6150.0.55.003). The expanded scope and additional data sources used in the Labour Account includes data for multiple job holders by industry of second, third and fourth job. The term 'Transport related jobs' refers to only filled jobs associated with the production of transport activity in the economy across all industries; this does not include job vacancies.

More than 1.0 million persons employed in transport related employment in 2015-16

In 2015-16, there were an estimated 1.0 million employed persons in transport related employment across the economy, accounting for 8.6% of total employed persons in the economy as defined in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).

Of these:

  • 624,600 persons were employed in For-hire transport, within the Transport, postal and warehousing industry, representing 60.9% of Total transport employment.
  • Persons employed through In-house transport were predominantly employed in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry (88,300), followed by the Construction industry (73,300) and the Public administration and safety industry (43,900). Public administration and safety includes defence.
  • 802,900 persons employed in transport across the economy were employed full-time, with the remaining 223,900 employed part-time.
     

In 2015-16, there were 1.1 million transport related jobs in the economy

In 2015-16, there were an estimated 1.1 million transport related jobs across all industries, accounting for 8.4% of total jobs in the economy.

Of these:

  • 666,400 jobs were in For-hire transport, within the Transport, postal and warehousing industry, representing 59.6% of Total transport jobs.
  • In-house transport jobs were predominantly in the Agriculture, forestry and fishing Industry (126,000), followed by the Construction industry (77,900) and the Public administration and safety industry including Defence, (40,500).
  • The Agriculture, forestry and fishing Industry had noticeably more transport related jobs than employed persons, resulting from scope differences between the two sources, as outlined in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods.
     
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  1. Division I relates to only For-hire transport related Jobs, and is therefore not included in this graph
  2. Division O: Public administration and safety includes defence
  3. Employed persons derived from Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0)
  4. Jobs derived from Labour Account Australia, Quarterly Experimental Estimates (cat. no. 6150.0.55.003)

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Australian Transport Economic Account, an experimental transport satellite account

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5270.0