Australian Business spending on research and experimental development (R&D) reached $18.3 billion in 2011-12, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.
Tracey Rowley from the ABS said that the increase was driven by R&D expenditure across four industries and was an increase of two percent from the previous year.
"We found that the major contributors to R&D expenditure were the manufacturing and mining industries, at 24 and 22 percent respectively."
"The financial and insurance services industry, and the professional, scientific and technical services industry each contributed 16 per cent.
"Businesses in the mining industry reported the largest growth in R&D expenditure, increasing by $265 million over the last financial year, however, the largest movement for any industry was a decrease of $331 million for the manufacturing industry.
"Almost half of all businesses reporting R&D expenditure in 2011-12 classified their field of research as engineering. The next largest field of research was information and computing sciences."
By state, the largest increase in expenditure on R&D from 2010-11 was reported in Western Australia (up $320 million), followed by South Australia (up $215 million). The largest decreases were reported in Queensland (down $180 million) and Victoria (down $141 million).
Between 2010-11 and 2011-12, business expenditure on R&D as a proportion of GDP decreased from 1.28 per cent to 1.24 per cent.
"There were almost 65,000 person years of effort devoted to R&D by businesses in 2011-12. This is an increase of 15 per cent from 2010-11." Ms Rowley said.
Further details are available in Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia (cat. no. 8104.0) available for free download from the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au).