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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2013  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/11/2013   
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Measures of Australia's Progress

International economic engagement

Australians aspire to fruitful economic engagement with the rest of the world
Graph Image for International trade

Footnote(s): (a) Total imports and exports of goods and services divided by gross domestic product. ;

Source(s): ABS Australian System of National Accounts, 2011-12 (cat. no. 5204.0); ABS Australian System of National Accounts, 2011-12 (cat. no. 5204.0)

Image: Tick - Progress

International economic engagement in Australia has progressed over the last decade

    Indicator: International trade rate

    Why is this theme important?

    Australians told us that while there were different ideas on what international economic engagement would look like, overall many people saw it as a positive thing for Australia. Positive interactions may include trade relationships or Australia being a destination for visitors and migrants. They might also involve Australia being open to giving and receiving ideas and sharing knowledge and experience. It also includes Australia’s response to its international economic obligations and responsibilities.

    How have we decided there has been progress?


    We have decided international economic engagement in Australia has progressed over the last decade because the international trade rate (our headline progress indicator for international economic engagement) has increased.

    Between 2001-02 and 2011-12, international trade in goods and services relative to gross domestic product (GDP) increased from 41% to 43%. Although this measure decreased during 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2009-10, an upward trend has clearly emerged as total trade in goods and services increased for most of this period.

    This past decade has seen marked increases in both international trade and production within the Australian economy. In overall terms, GDP and total imports and exports of goods and services to and from Australia increased by 95% and 101% respectively. During most years, international trade increased at a greater rate than GDP with the notable exception of 2009-10 when total imports and exports of goods and services decreased by 8.8% while GDP increased by 3.0%.

    Why this headline progress indicator?

    International trade is an important part of the aspiration for international economic engagement.

    The international trade rate is considered a good measure of progress for international economic engagement because it shows the relative impact of international economic engagement on the economy. In an internationally engaged economy, goods and services consumed are composed of a diverse range of products produced domestically or imported from other countries. The international trade rate is concerned with measuring the flow of internationally exchanged goods and services and quantifying the relative influence of international trade on the Australian economy.

    While change in the international trade rate indicates greater or lesser engagement with other economies, change in the rate can also be caused by a number of factors including changes in imports, exports or economic growth. Wider economic circumstances should therefore be considered when interpreting specific movements in the rate.

    Quality assessment (see key)

    Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of the concept of international economic engagement as described above (based on Aspirations for our Nation).

    Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

    Let's break it down!

    Looking at the value of imports and exports shows the composition of international trade to and from Australia. Although international trade has increased over the last decade, the underlying drivers behind its growth have changed over this time period. Up until 2008-09, growth in this measure was driven by imports of goods and services which exceeded exports of goods and services by 9.1% on average. However, since 2008-09 this trend has been reversed and exports have exceeded imports by 2.3%.

    Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

    But that is not the whole story...

    There is more to international economic engagement than the international trade rate. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of international economic engagement have progressed.

    Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

Graph Image for International trade - PI

Footnote(s): (a) Total imports and exports of goods and services divided by gross domestic product. ;

Source(s): ABS Australian System of National Accounts, 2011-12 (cat. no. 5204.0); ABS Australian System of National Accounts, 2011-12 (cat. no. 5204.0)

Development and maintenance of trade relationships in Australia has progressed over the last decade


Indicator: International trade rate

Why is this element important?

An important aspect of international economic engagement is the exchanges achieved through the development and maintenance of trade relationships. Australian engagement in new and ongoing trade relationships is considered a positive interaction with the rest of the world.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about international economic engagement.

How have we decided there has been progress?

We know the development and maintenance of trade relationships in Australia has progressed over the last decade because the international trade rate (our progress indicator for development and maintenance of trade relationships) has increased.

Between 2001-02 and 2011-12, international trade in goods and services relative to gross domestic product (GDP) increased from 41% to 43%. Although this measure decreased during 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2009-10, an upward trend has clearly emerged as total trade in goods and services increased for most of this period.

This past decade has seen marked increases in both international trade and production within the Australian economy. In overall terms, GDP and total imports and exports of goods and services to and from Australia increased by 95% and 101% respectively. During most years, international trade increased at a greater rate than GDP with the notable exception of 2009-10 when total imports and exports of goods and services decreased by 8.8% while GDP increased by 3.0%.

Why this progress indicator?

The international trade rate tells us about the development and maintenance of trade relationships as part of the aspiration for international economic engagement.

The international trade rate is considered a good measure of progress for the development and maintenance of trade relationships because it shows the relative impact of these interactions on the economy. In an economy with well-established and growing trade relationships, goods and services consumed are composed of a diverse range of products produced domestically or imported from other countries. The international trade rate is concerned with measuring the openness of trade that facilitates the flow of internationally exchanged goods and services and quantifying the relative influence of these trade relationships on the Australian economy.

While change in the international trade rate indicates greater or lesser development and maintenance of trade relationships with other economies, change in the rate can be caused by a number of factors including changes in imports, exports or economic growth. Wider economic circumstances should therefore be considered when interpreting specific movements in the rate.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of development and maintenance of trade relationships.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

Let's break it down!

Looking at the value of imports and exports shows the composition of international trade to and from Australia. Although international trade has increased over the last decade, the underlying drivers behind its growth have changed over this time period. Up until 2008-09, growth in this measure was driven by imports of goods and services which exceeded exports of goods and services by 9.1% on average. However, since 2008-09 this trend has been reversed and exports have exceeded imports by 2.3%.

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to international economic engagement than the development and maintenance of trade relationships. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of international economic engagement have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

Graph Image for Net overseas migration per capita(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Estimates for years 2011 and 2012 are preliminary.;(a) Estimates for years 2011 and 2012 are preliminary.

Source(s): ABS Australian Demographic Statistics, Dec 2012 (cat. no. 3101.0); ABS Australian Demographic Statistics, Dec 2012 (cat. no. 3101.0)

Migration and tourism in Australia has progressed over the last decade


Indicator: Net overseas migration per capita

Why is this element important?

An important aspect of international economic engagement is the exchange achieved through migration and tourism. The movement of people to and from the nation reflects Australia's international economic engagement and relationship with the rest of the world. Migration also facilitates the exchange of cultures, values and attitudes between countries which has a positive impact on the economy but can be more difficult to quantify.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about international economic engagement.

How have we decided there has been progress?

We have we decided migration and tourism in Australia has progressed over the last decade because net overseas migration per capita (our progress indicator for migration and tourism) has increased.

In 2012, Australian net overseas migration increased the Australian population by 10.3 migrants per 1,000 persons. This was close to twice the number added a decade ago in 2002 (net overseas migration of 5.6 migrants per 1,000 persons).

The past decade has seen marked periods of growth in net overseas migration to Australia per capita. Most notably, the period from 2004 to 2008 saw net overseas migration per capita grow from 5.3 to 14.7 per 1.000 persons. This growth was mainly driven by a large increase in international students. While this period was followed by two years of decline (to a low of 7.8 per 1,000 in 2010) with many international students returning home after studies, net overseas migration per capita has since grown year-over-year to its current rate (10.3 per 1,000 persons in 2012).

Why this progress indicator?

Net overseas migration tells us about migration as part of the aspiration for international economic engagement.

Net overseas migration per capita is considered a good measure of progress for migration and tourism because it measures the flow of people to and from Australia relative to the population. Measuring the movement on a per capita basis is useful as it accounts for change in the size of the Australian population. Because net overseas migration measures long-term movements to and from Australia, it is limited in that it cannot measure the tourism aspect of this element.

While net overseas migration is a robust measure of international migration, it does not measure short-term movements to and from Australia. Therefore, tourism, another important aspect of this element, has not been assessed when evaluating progress.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of migration and tourism.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

Let's break it down!

The contribution of arrivals and departures to net overseas migration can reveal the driving factors behind changes in the overall rate. Between 2004 and 2012, per capita departures from Australia remained reasonably stable while arrivals demonstrated more pronounced periods of growth and decline. This shows that arrivals were a large contributor to the overall trend in net overseas migration to Australia.

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to international economic engagement than migration and tourism. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of international economic engagement have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

A data gap currently exists for uphold international responsibilities and cooperation

In MAP there are several types of data gaps where:
1. the concept is not yet developed enough to measure;
2. the concept is important for progress but may not lend itself to meaningful measurement;
3. there is no data of sufficient quality to inform on progress or
4. there is only one data point, so a progress assessment cannot be made.
A range of possible indicators were considered for uphold international responsibilities and cooperation such as the number of bilateral trade agreements in existence. However, this indicator has limitations in that there is only a finite number of agreements that may be negotiated, the number of which does not indicate the importance of the relationship or the quality of the agreement. The effectiveness with which international responsibilities and cooperation are upheld may be best reflected by the headline measure, the international trade rate.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to international economic engagement than uphold international responsibilities and cooperation. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of international economic engagement have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
Graph Image for International short-term movements per capita

Footnote(s): (a) Where education, business or conferences/conventions were the main reason for journey to/from Australia. (b) Estimates for years 2011 and 2012 are preliminary.;(a) Estimates for 2012 are preliminary.

Source(s): ABS Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0); ABS Australian Demographic Statistics, Dec 2012 (cat. no. 3101.0); ABS Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia (cat. no. 3401.0); ABS Australian Demographic Statistics, Dec 2012 (cat. no. 3101.0).

Sharing of knowledge and ideas in Australia has progressed over the last decade


Indicator: International short-term movements for education, business and conferences per capita

Why is this element important?

The sharing of knowledge and ideas is an important aspect of progress as it can bring new perspectives and innovations to Australia's public and private institutions and community more broadly. Sharing knowledge and ideas can benefit Australia by directly improving processes and practices used to produce goods and services. It can also benefit the nation through the transfer of ideas and innovations to other countries, which in return strengthen Australia's international economic standing.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about international economic engagement.

How have we decided there has been progress?

We have decided sharing of knowledge and ideas in Australia has progressed over the last decade because international short-term movements for education, business and conferences per capita (our progress indicator for sharing of knowledge and ideas) has increased.

In 2002, there were 40 short-term visitor arrivals and 38 short-term resident departures for education, business and conferences from Australia per 1,000 population. A decade later in 2012, the rate was greater at 55 and 49 respectively. Both series have seen year-on-year growth for most of the decade, with the exception of notable declines to both rates in 2008 and 2009 which coincides with the uncertainty of the Global Financial Crisis.

Why this progress indicator?

Movements for education, business and conferences tells us about the sharing of knowledge and ideas as part of the aspiration for international economic engagement.

International short-term movements for education, business and conferences per capita is considered a good measure of progress for sharing of knowledge and ideas because it measures the movement of people to and from Australia for reasons that are likely to involve the exchange of knowledge and ideas between nations. Measuring the movement on a per capita basis is useful as it accounts for change in the size of the Australian population.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Indirect measure' This indicator is a indirect measure of sharing of knowledge and ideas.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

Let's break it down!

The main reason for people to enter and leave Australia for learning and sharing skills is for business reasons, making up the majority of movements for both visitor arrivals (56%) and resident departures (72%). For visitor arrivals to Australia, education is also a large component of movements, accounting for around a third of all visitor arrivals in 2012.

Use the drop down menu on the graph to look at other breakdowns of the indicator (graphs are also available on the further info page).

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to international economic engagement than sharing of knowledge and ideas. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of international economic engagement have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.


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