Report: Staying ahead of the game

16 September 2019

Announced by Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews MP, and released by Industry Growth Centres METS Ignited and NERA, this report looks to understand the positive impact new technology could bring to Australia's mining and oil and gas industries.

Digital automation technologies in the mining and oil and gas industries continue to present a tremendous opportunity for Australia, their adoption has the potential to add $74 billion in value to the national economy by 2030 and create more than 80,000 new jobs.

To realise these benefits, Australia's technology sector must act now, and through collaboration continue to drive a globally competitive supply chain, delivering jobs to the cities and the regions with the potential to add tens of billions of dollars to our local industry.

Prepared by AlphaBeta, this report provides an economic analysis of the potential opportunities and impact of technologies such as data analytics, automation and robotics on Australia’s mining and oil and gas industries in the next decade.

This report joins NERA’s recently released report — Preparing Australia's future oil and gas workforce — which helps Australia's energy resources sector prepare for uncertain times.

Report recommendations

The Staying ahead of the game report recommends a four-step roadmap to lead Australia's mining and energy resources sector to success from digital automation technology adoption: 

  1. Strengthen collaboration
    Industry, government, education providers and researchers need to join forces and commit to developing this technology together. One way to foster collaboration would be to establish a sector reference group, jointly funded by industry and government, to steer the development of the automation technology supply chain for the resources sector. 
  2. Create clusters
    Australia urgently needs to establish true cross-industry automation and robotics technology clusters, hubs of interconnected businesses, suppliers, and associated institutions. International best practice shows that clusters — at the right location, and with the right governance and branding — can facilitate innovation, collaboration and knowledge sharing. Based on this best practice, Australia should also consider establishing a technology council — a membership-based platform to help technology suppliers to network, collaborate, find talent and explore new business opportunities. 
  3. Create an entrepreneurial ecosystem
    Australia needs to become a thriving entrepreneurial marketplace for commercialising ideas. Universities have a role to play in supporting an entrepreneurial ecosystem, with research focus not only on the technology needs and challenges, but also delivering commercial outcomes that will continue to sustain and support the sector. 
  4. Boost skills and R&D
    Industry, education providers and governments need to intensify efforts to build a pipeline of talent to meet the rising demand for skills and innovation, including transitioning today’s workforce into the workforce of the future. Building a strong basis for R&D and skills in automation technology is a priority if Australia’s mining, oil and gas industries want to remain internationally competitive in the long run. This would also involve developing new cross industry training programs in automation and robotics as well as research collaborations between Australian universities and world-leading international universities in automation technology. Australia could also strengthen R&D efforts in automation technology by setting up cross-industry research institutes focussed on early-stage innovation. Such institutes could combine R&D in several industries, from mining and oil and gas to manufacturing, and defence.

Read the report

To read or download the report, click on the links below.