Report reveals the drivers of Brisbane's $275 Billion Future Economy

2 MAY 2024

Brisbane’s skilled workforce, innovation hubs, manufacturing growth and soaring popularity as a tourism destination, are set to unlock the city’s $275 billion future, according to a new report.

The inaugural State of the City Report, developed by Brisbane Economic Development Agency in partnership with Deloitte Access Economics, forecasts Brisbane’s economy will increase by 68 per cent over 20 years to 2041, powered by Australia’s fastest-growing working age population [1], 41 per cent growth in exports to 2031, and the highest growth in room revenue for hotels in the country.

The report also examines the 10-year growth forecast in priority sectors where Brisbane is driving innovation, including health (36%), property and construction (41%), transport and logistics (43%), advanced manufacturing (29%), professional services (50%), and the experience economy (41%).

The report attributes this growth potential to the city’s ability to commercialise emerging industries, with Brisbane boasting more than 140 innovation hubs, the highest density of hubs per capita in Australia, world-leading robotics skills and research, and manufacturing exports growth outpacing the rest of Australia [2].

Brisbane’s experience economy, forecast to grow 41 per cent in the decade to 2031, was in higher demand than ever before in 2023, with a record breaking $10.1 billion visitor spend, Australia’s highest revenue growth per available hotel room (RevPAR), up 47 per cent from 2019, and higher hotel occupancy than pre-Covid, signalling opportunities for businesses and investors.

The city’s culinary boom also saw Queensland record Australia’s highest annual growth of cafes and restaurants in 2022-23.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said Brisbane’s economic opportunities and lifestyle offerings were driving growing demand.

“Brisbane is Australia’s lifestyle capital and people from all corners of the globe are chasing a slice of the incredible opportunities we have to offer,” Cr Schrinner said.

“Our city is also being increasingly recognised as both a must-do destination and a great place to live, with record visitor spending and the fastest-growing working age population of Australia’s major centres. 

“Brisbane’s success hasn’t happened by accident and this report demonstrates Brisbane is just getting started.

“Brisbane is alive with opportunity and I’m confident our emergence as a must-do destination and a great place to live will continue to boost business, create jobs and make Brisbane even better.”

Lead Partner at Deloitte Access Economics Pradeep Philip said Brisbane offered significant growth opportunities for businesses, innovators, and investors.

“Brisbane is the definition of a growth stock, with clear opportunities for innovators, investors and businesses across Australia and internationally in the years to come," Mr Philip said.

“This is evident in Brisbane’s talent market, where it has recorded the fastest growing working age population among Australia’s major centres, with 7.7 percent growth against an average of 4 per cent across major cities.

“This, combined with Australia’s highest ranked university, a 32 per cent increase in university graduates in the past five years, and the highest state-wide rates of technical and trades education attainment in the country, positions Brisbane with a highly competitive, skilled, and growing workforce.

“Brisbane is also in an enviable position for exports, as Australia’s closest major port to the world’s largest Asian markets and with exports forecast to grow at 3.5 per cent each year to 2031.

“We know that global demand is fuelling the city’s manufacturing sector, and Brisbane is delivering, with the city’s manufacturing exports growing by 127 per cent in the past decade and private sector investment in Queensland’s advanced manufacturing sector growing by $941 million since 2018 to $2.75 billion in the past year.

“In particular, Brisbane’s export growth of medical and pharmaceutical products has been almost seven time faster than the rest of Australia.”

Brisbane Economic Development Agency Chief Executive Officer Anthony Ryan said the State of the City report confirmed Brisbane was setting the pace for growth in Australia.

“Brisbane is an economic powerhouse in the Asia Pacific, driven by our strategic location, highly skilled workforce, global innovation hubs and nation-leading capability,” Mr Ryan said.

“The findings of this report articulate the economic opportunities, momentum, and growth in Brisbane which, combined with our unmatched lifestyle, make Brisbane one of the best cities in the world.

“The camaraderie in our business community, underpinned by strong expertise, infrastructure, and ambition, is what continues to attract businesses, talent, and investors to Brisbane.

“As Brisbane continues to rise, Brisbane Economic Development Agency will support business and investors with market and off-market property site selection, and access to our business network, including critical introductions to local industry stakeholders, public and private businesses, and State and Federal Government agencies.

“We’ll also continue to support new and expanding aviation routes to Brisbane from key markets so more visitors can enjoy the best of Brisbane, and we can support our city’s businesses to export their products to the world.”

The State of the City Report was developed by Brisbane Economic Development Agency, in partnership with Deloitte Access Economics.

[1] Fastest growing working age population among Australia’s major centres (inc. Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide)
[1] Rest of Australia is defined as the national average, excluding Brisbane.
State of the City Report