News Precise positioning a huge boost to Australian economy: report

Published:21 September 2023

Government investment in precise positioning infrastructure will have injected an additional half a billion dollars into the economy by 30 June 2038, according to a new report commissioned by Geoscience Australia.

The report, which examined the economic benefits of its National Positioning Infrastructure Capability (NPIC) program, found that a unified approach to the management of the nation’s positioning infrastructure was paying dividends across industry with flow-on environmental benefits by enabling more efficient operations across agriculture, construction, and mining.

The NPIC is a network of more than 700 continuously operating global navigation satellite system reference stations from 11 different operators. This network supports the delivery of centimetre level positioning across most areas of mobile phone coverage in Australia.

Ryan Ruddick, Director of Global Navigational Satellite System Infrastructure and Informatics, said that by developing world-class positioning infrastructure and services, Geoscience Australia and its partners were directly contributing to the country’s economic prosperity.

“We know that investment in the NPIC’s positioning infrastructure is having a real impact across our regions and industries, with an expected return of $2.58 in direct benefits for every dollar we spend,” Mr Ruddick said.

“The report by ACIL Allen found that the NPIC was having significant benefits of over half a billion dollars across the economy over two-decades. This includes a boost of $163 million in agriculture, $91 million in mining, $68 million in construction, $43 million in surveying and mapping and $180 million of other, indirect benefits across the entire economy.

“These benefits will stretch across the country, with an estimated $194 million in Victoria, $176 million in New South Wales, $101 million in Queensland, $44 million in Western Australia, $16 million in Tasmania and $12 million in South Australia.

“Importantly, precise positioning benefits are not just confined to capital cities. In fact, it is expected that NPIC output will grow faster in the regions, reflecting the true value of precise positioning to industries like agriculture and mining. For example, precision agriculture such as auto-steering and yield monitoring systems is delivering productivity and environmental benefits across grain, cotton, sugar, viticulture and horticulture sectors. While precise positioning used in machine guidance for earthworks is providing increased precision and safety on construction work sites.

Mr Ruddick said the report found that precise positioning would also have a positive impact on employment across the country.

“The NPIC is helping to create employment across many sectors including services, manufacturing and agriculture, with 2,316 full time jobs expected to have been created over a two-decade period to 30 June 2038.

“Importantly, the financial impact of NPIC will expand over time as industry continues to adopt precise positioning technology to increase safety, productivity and efficiency.”

See the full report, Economic impact of the National Positioning Infrastructure Capability program [PDF 4.7 MB], by ACIL Allen.

See the summary report, Economic impact of the National Positioning Infrastructure Capability program [PDF 914.4 KB], by ACIL Allen.