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Encyclopedia of Technology and Innovation Management by Gina Colarelli O'Connor, V. K. Narayanan

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Chapter 40. Australia's National Innovation System

Don Scott-Kemmis[64] and Judy Matthews[65]

Introduction and historical overview

The Commonwealth of Australia was formed by the federation of the states in 1901, and has remained a federal system, with significant areas of public administration controlled at the state level. In 1901 the Australian population was less than 4 million, the (gross domestic product) GDP/capita was higher than the United States, and exports, which accounted for 25% of GDP, were almost entirely a (gradually widening) range of agricultural and mineral commodities, of which wool and gold constituted 60% (IRS, 2001). Manufacturing industry largely served the domestic market.

Much has changed over the past 107 years, although the level of dependence on commodity exports, while varied, has remained high. The population is now over 21 million and is far more ethnically diverse. The development of communications has greatly increased the extent and diversity of interaction with the world, but the majority of exports are still commodities—in 2005–2006 five primary products accounted for 40% of Australian exports: coal, iron ore, oil, gas, and gold.

By 1901 a broad foundation of industry, education, and research had been established. The Australian Museum, Botanic Gardens, Meteorological Observatory, Astronomical Observatory, and Geological Survey had been established in or near Sydney (New South Wales), and similar organizations were established in the other major ...

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