The $38 billion chemistry industry is a critical enabler of almost every value chain in Australia and represents one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the country.
The industry underpins more than 212,000 jobs and is a vital part of Australia’s supply chain through the supply of products, technologies, and innovations to 108 of Australia’s 114 industry sectors.
The chemistry industry is essential to many of Australia’s largest industries, such as healthcare, mining, agriculture, construction, infrastructure and manufacturing, while its products support all Australian communities by ensuring the supply of clean and safe drinking water and keeping food fresh from farm to plate.
Inputs supplied by the Australian chemistry industry range from raw materials that are key to the manufacture of many essential products. These include personal protective and medical equipment, sanitisers, disinfectants and cleaning products.
Our industry also produces, supplies, and distributes water treatments, food, beverage and goods packaging, as well as products that enable food production such as crop protection products, fertilisers, and irrigation. It also supplies explosives, reagents and water treatment for the resources and critical minerals sector, and paints, coatings and sealants to protect our built environment.
During the pandemic, our industry was able to play an important role in protecting the community by helping to meet unprecedented demand for essential products such as hand sanitisers and PPE, in addition to the continued supply of medical gasses to support healthcare in hospitals and other medical facilities.
Thanks to our industry’s manufacturing capacity, quality control and scientific and technical know-how to supply the Australian community, our industry was well positioned to respond to the increased demand for these products during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis demonstrated the innovation and agility of Australian manufacturers, but it also highlighted the need to strengthen Australia’s sovereign capability to ensure the supply of essential goods and services, particularly when global supply chains are disrupted.
Chemistry Australia believes Australia must build a minimum level of sovereign manufacturing capability to bolster its future growth and the prosperity of Australia’s domestic manufacturing. This will be essential to manage the future crises we will face and leverage the emerging and future technologies that will drive Australia’s transformation to climate neutrality.
Australia’s transition to a climate neutral economy will require Australia to have a flexible and robust manufacturing capability.
Chemistry Australia advocates for government policies that support competitiveness, investment, and growth to ensure Australia has the deep and complex manufacturing base and skills it will need to enable this important transition.
In the meantime, industry must continue to have access to affordable and globally competitive gas and electricity. Cumulative gas and electricity price increases throughout Australia’s value-chains have ultimately increased prices for consumers for a broad range of Australian-made products and services.
Chemistry Australia’s policy positions document Our Ambition for Australia: Opportunities for a Sustainable and Competitive Economy outlines our industry’s priorities of de-risking the economy and addressing ongoing vulnerabilities in our supply chains, alongside support for investment in Australia’s growing circular economy, and enabling the transition to a lower-emissions future.
Please visit our policy positions pages for more information.