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In Australia over 90 government programmes depend on Earth Observing Systems (EOS) to a greater or lesser degree. Surveyors, farmers, miners, insurers, fishers, engineers, and other commercial users are also increasingly using EOS to pursue their business objectives. The EOS sector’s direct contribution to Australian GDP is estimated at AUD 1.4 billion in 2008-09. This includes imagery, technology and a significant amount of skilled labour. In addition, it is estimated that EOS related productivity benefits were worth AUD 1.9 billion to the Australian economy in 2008-09. Taking these two impacts together, the minimum economic impact of EOS in 2008-09 is estimated to be AUD 3.3 billion.
On conservative growth assumptions, the annual contribution to GDP of EOS is estimated to reach around AUD 4 billion by 2015. Benefits to climate change, natural resources management and emergency management are also expected to grow, however the value of AUD 1 billion is considered to remain appropriate as a reference value. There will be addition benefits accruing to Australia’s defence and national security. These have not been estimated.
Reference cost or benefit estimates (based on NASA estimates, Ackerman and Stanton (2008) and Australian Treasury modelling) is AUD 30 billion.
Future expenditure by government on EOS services has not been estimated. However, ACIL Tasman considers that it would not be unreasonable to conclude that the productivity related impacts on GDP and the other benefits could increase by around 30 per cent by 2015. This would mean that: