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Drones to boost Australia’s GDP by $14.5bn, says Deloitte

written by Adam Thorn | November 4, 2020
Tasmania police’s new M300 drones

A new report by Deloitte has predicted drones will increase Australia’s GDP by $14.5 billion over the next 20 years, with $4.4 billion coming in regional areas.

The investigation, commissioned by the government, also argued the new technology will generate $9.3 billion in cost savings, particularly in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said drones would support 5,500 full-time jobs each year for the next two decades.

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“There are many incredible drone opportunities already being explored or trialled that proves exactly that, such as using drones to deliver medical items in regional Australia, tracking sharks around our beaches or mapping bushfire movements to support our valiant firefighting efforts,” Deputy PM McCormack said.

“In agriculture, the report found using drones could support more efficient decision making to improve profitability for our farmers by decreasing planting costs by up to 85 per cent, just one of many examples of how supporting the use of drone innovation and technology can continue to assist hard-working Australians.

The report, which you can view here, was compiled by Deloitte Access Economics and commissioned by Deputy PM McCormack’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. 

“We recently released an issues paper for industry consultation to inform the development of this best-practice policy approach, a move which was welcomed by the industry – and it is fantastic to have them engage on this important topic,” added the Deputy PM.

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“Collaboration and industry involvement is crucial to the success of unlocking the opportunities drones present, which is why I encourage anyone interested who hasn’t yet had their say to get involved and provide feedback on the issues paper.”

In June, Australian Aviation reported that the country’s first drone testing facility will open by the end of 2020 after Queensland appointed defence contractors QinetiQ to oversee the project.

The $14.5 million complex will be situated at Cloncurry Aerodrome in the state’s north-west and will include access to a 2km long runway.

The flight test range (FTR) will consist of two runways, a dedicated hangar and workshop as well as surveillance radar and tracking equipment.

Initially, the site will support all weight classes of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) between 30-150 kilograms and will be available for bookings in the next few months.

Late last year, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk greenlit the development and said the facility would create 65 jobs in the region.

However, it’s now been announced that construction has already begun ahead of a 2020 opening.

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