3. OVERVIEW OF WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MARINE INDUSTRIES
Western Australia has a wide range of marine support industries, including oceanographic, meteorological and environmental services.
Marine industries throughout Australian were worth about $16 billion annually in 1987 rising to $30 billion in 1994, a growth rate of 8 percent. They are likely to become even more significant in the national economy in the future.
These industries also contribute substantially to export performance, estimated at $6.6 billion in 1994, or 7 per cent of total exports. They are also major employers, see table 1 below.
In Western Australia the continued growth of the shipbuilding industry should bring a wide range of benefits to both the state and the nation. The Western Australian Department of Commerce and Trade has estimated the overall economic impact of the shipbuilding industry for 1996 at $1.1 billion, generating some 5500 full-time job equivalents.
Several key areas of marine industry are of particular interest. Considerable emphasis has been placed in this document on the high-speed light-weight shipbuilding industry, because of its local significance, and the active world-wide structural development and technology change influencing this marine industry sector.
In 1996, 25 per cent of new high-speed vessels built in the world came from Australia, with 70 per cent of those supplied from Western Australian yards. The Australian Shipbuilding Association (ASA) believes its members can maintain that market share into the next century. One advantage enjoyed by WA industry is nearness to fast growing markets − it costs about US$300,000 to transport a catamaran from Norway to Asia compared to US$ 105,000 from Australia.
For a modern 80 metre catamaran, typical cost elements are labour 25 per cent, local components 33 per cent, imported components (primarily aluminum plate, engines and water jets) 42 per cent.
Today the high-speed light-weight ferry industry employs some 5,500 people, compared with just over 2,000 in 1992/93 − of these 17 per cent are subcontractors, compared with over 22 per cent three years earlier.