Industry strengths and capabilities

Manufacturing strengths span industry divides

NSW offers a diverse and varied manufacturing sector, with companies involved in everything from building medical devices and producing food to developing and harnessing cutting-edge technology.

The state's manufacturing industry contributed around A$33 billion to the NSW economy in 2015-16 in value added terms, while the state's manufactured exports, including processed food, were worth around A$14 billion in 2015-16, accounting for 22% of NSW's total goods and services exports.

Booming infrastructure sector

NSW's rapidly expanding infrastructure sector has a strong and growing need for manufactured goods, with projects such as the A$8.3 billion Sydney Metro Northwest (Australia's largest public transport project), Sydney Metro City and Southwest, the A$3 billion NorthConnex tunnel motorway project, and the WestConnex Motorway project coming online over the next decade.

Construction work on WestConnex, Australia’s largest transport project, valued at around $16.8 billion, began in March 2015.

Strong opportunities in resources

Across the state, large powerhouse manufacturers process the state's wealth of agricultural and mineral assets, including coal and natural gas.

To keep their operations humming, the state's mining, resources and energy industries require highly developed infrastructure such as ports and rail links, generating huge opportunities for specialist manufacturing firms.

Defence manufacturing

NSW is home to the largest number of defence bases and facilities in the nation. Defence activities in NSW, including defence industry businesses, generate more than A$5 billion annually in output. These facilities require the construction of considerable infrastructure to service large and complex operations, presenting diverse opportunities for  manufacturing businesses in areas such as aerospace, electronics, marine, heavy engineering and fabrication, and vehicle construction.

Advanced manufacturing

NSW's advanced manufacturers apply the latest science and technology to develop products including:

  • sophisticated equipment and machinery for defence and aviation
  • renewable energy technologies
  • world-renowned biomedical and medical devices.

Sydney is Australia's leading industrial centre and the headquarters location of some of the nation's most innovative manufacturers, such as bionic ear pioneer Cochlear and globally renowned audio company RØDE Microphones. The city offers manufacturing firms a highly skilled workforce and unparalleled opportunities to collaborate with businesses from a range of industries, including digital enterprises and biomedical companies.

Strong academic and R&D support

Part of the success of the NSW manufacturing story can be attributed to the state's strong education sector. NSW is home to 11 universities, two of which – the University of Sydney and University of New South Wales – were ranked in the top 100 globally in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-2017.

All of these universities are involved in global research and academic collaboration networks – often with some of the largest multinational companies – in fields such as agriculture, information technology, manufacturing and mining.

NSW is strongly committed to innovation and technology development. The state is home to 10 Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs), which focus on industry partnerships to achieve commercial outcomes. The CRCs link researchers with industry to create partnerships for the practical application of research  and its commercialisation.

Research institutions focused specifically on manufacturing include The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering, the Australian National Fabrication Facility and the Australian Centre for Electro-Material Science.