Australia’s answer to Silicon Valley is spread over much more than one state, with research identifying 96 “tech clusters” throughout the country and four “super clusters” responsible for creating more than half the nation’s tech jobs.
The study, undertaken by the Tech Council of Australia and national science agency CSIRO, also identified 36 “specialist clusters” in regional areas and predicted two-thirds of future tech jobs would come from existing clusters over the next 10 years.
The findings come less than two weeks after the council held its sold-out National Tech Summit in Brisbane, where attendees heard tech roles were multiplying in Australia and local start-ups could attract as much early funding as their United States peers by 2030.
The Geography of Australia’s Digital Industries report examined the make-up of 2473 statistical regions and identified 96 technology hubs, including 60 “greater capital city clusters” and four “super clusters”.
The “super clusters” representing the largest concentration of tech jobs were named as the Sydney Arc, extending from North Ryde to Redfern, the Melbourne Diamond covering St Kilda and the Docklands area, the Brisbane Corridor from Bowen Hills to Toowong, and the Canberra Triangle that linked Belconnen with Phillip and the capital’s airport.
Tech Council chief executive Kate Pounder said the research represented the first time Australia’s tech centres had been mapped and, even though they only represented four per cent of Australia’s geography, they were responsible for most of its technology roles.
“Clusters account for 63 per cent of tech jobs in Australia,” she said.
“Given tech jobs are amongst the fastest growing, best paid and most flexible jobs in the country, it’s a great advantage for any community to have a cluster in their area.”
In addition to tech hubs around major cities, the report found 36 “regional niche clusters” had developed throughout Australia, specialising in areas such as web design, telecommunications, graphic design and software applications.
Regional hubs were centred in areas on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts in Queensland, parts of regional Victoria, and Wollongong and Newcastle in NSW.
CSIRO principal researcher and lead author Dr Stefan Hajkowicz said it was interesting to note that some coastal areas had seen rapid growth in specialised areas such as graphic design.
Dr Hajkowicz said the research showed Australia’s tech industry was spread over a wide area but had similarities to innovation centres in other countries.
“We’re not searching for Australia’s Silicon Valley. We have our own clusters with their own unique blend of technology specialisations, companies, and cultures,” he said.
“But we do see the same patterns of intense spatial clustering of technology industry occurring in places like California, Cambridge (UK), Toulouse (France) and other places worldwide.”
The CSIRO and Tech Council report predicted two thirds of future tech roles would come from existing clusters by 2030 when the industry was expected to employ 1.2 million people.
(Australian Associated Press)