Check just where it all comes from

The Australian Bureau of Statistics regularly looks at the sports industry in Australia. This time imports were put under the microscope., and they make nervous reading!

The late January report noted that:

“As a proud sporting nation, and with around two thirds (64 percent ) of Australians (aged 15 years and over) participating in sport and physical recreation in 2009-10 it is no wonder that in 2008-09, the total value of sports and physical recreation goods imported into Australia was $2.1 billion.

This far outweighed the total value of sports and recreation goods that were exported ($463.1 million).

While the value of sports and physical recreation goods imported into Australia is only a small portion of the total value of all imported goods, they are often items that are used everyday such as gymnasium or athletics equipment, bicycles and sporting and/or physical recreation footwear.

Some of the higher-end items such as boats, yachts, spark-ignition marine outboard motors and horses are less in demand, but are still symbolic of Australia's love of the great outdoors.

In 2008-09, the value of sports and physical recreation goods imported into Australia from China was $791.9m. This was just over one-third (39 percent) of the total value of all imported sports and physical recreation goods ($2,055.5m).

Australia has contributed to China's economy over the years with the value of sports and physical recreation goods imported from China increasing by 77 percent between 2002-03 ($447.6m) and 2008-09 ($791.9m).

The USA does a great job of launching sports and physical recreation goods into Australia.

In 2008-09 the value of sports and physical recreation goods imported from the USA was $366.8m, making it the second most common source of Australia's imported sports and physical recreation goods.

In the past few years, the value of imported goods from the USA increased by 40 percent, from $261.6m in 2002-03 to $366.8m in 2008-09.

A breakdown of the imports from the USA shows that 43% ($156.1m) of the total value was in boats, yachts and other vessels for pleasure or sports; 12% was in spark-ignition marine outboard motors; 8.3 percent ($30.4m) in general physical exercise, gymnasium or athletics articles and equipment and 5.6 percent ($20.6m) in golf clubs.

• The UK was the sixth largest source of imported sports and physical recreation goods behind Taiwan ($211.7m), Japan ($103.8m) and New Zealand ($97.0m).

Despite growing concerns about the physical activity levels and health of Australians, in 2008-09 the value of gymnasium or athletics articles and equipment imported into Australia was $247.4m and the value of imported sports or physical recreation footwear was $161.4m.

This is surely an indication that we're not totally averse to a trip to the fitness centre or a run around the oval.

Cycling is also a popular pastime with just over one million (or 6.5 percent of Australians aged 15 years and over) participating in cycling in 2009-10.

The value of imported bicycles and other cycles, not motorised, into Australia in 2008-09 was $239.9m.

• The value of exports of Australian sports and physical recreation goods to Hong Kong was the third highest in 2008-09 ($49.1m) which was an increase of 54% since 2007-08 ($31.9m).

Other countries in the top five destinations for Australian sports and physical goods in 2008-09 were Italy ($24.2m) and Singapore ($20.1m).



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