Australia has 96 digital technology clusters which collectively account for the creation of 63 per cent of all tech roles spanning metro and remote regions, according to the joint report by the country’s national science organisation, CSIRO and the Technology Council of Australia.
The study identified digital clusters as engines for growth and found that “geography matters” as clusters – described as the concentration of innovation – can help boost productivity and create an environment in which companies grow, employ and innovate at a faster pace.
At the same time, the report stressed that the growth of smaller regional clusters proved that digital innovation could happen anywhere.
Tech cluster types
The report recognised four capital city-based superclusters in Australia, which are mega groupings of multiple clusters in the same city. Among these include the Sydney arc, the Melbourne diamond, the Brisbane corridor, and the Canberra triangle.
In addition to these superclusters, all of which are located along the easter seaboard of the country, there are also smaller clusters in places like Perth, Hobart and Darwin.
On top of this, the study has also confirmed the rise of highly specialised clusters in regional areas, such as a cluster of graphic design professionals in coastal areas like Burleigh Heads.
The 96 identified tech hubs in Australia include 60 greater city clusters, which are single clusters in greater capital cities with large and diversified tech workforce and companies, and 36 regional specialist clusters which often have tech workforce that specialise in one or two areas.
The city clusters include areas such as Paramatta in Greater Sydney, Hobart, Northbridge in Perth, Darwin and Adelaide while regional specialist clusters are located in Noosa in the Sunshine Coast, Newcastle in Central Coast, Queanbeyan, Geelong and Torquay.
Commenting on the findings of the report, lead report author and CSIRO principal researcher Dr Stefan Hajkowicz said: “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.
“But we do see the same patterns of intense spatial clustering of technology industry occurring in places like California (USA), Cambridge (UK), Toulouse (France) and other places worldwide.”
Understanding the patterns of how the clusters thrive is important as, according to international research, such places come with a range of benefits.
“We know comparatively little about this in Australia, but what this report tells us very clearly is that geography matters and understanding that geography can help us catalyse growth,” CSIRO’s acting chief executive Kirsten Rose added.