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Australian refrigeration and air conditioning industry 'worth £15 billion a year'

The second definitive survey of the Australian rac industry has calculated it is worth A$26 billion (£15 billion) to the national economy, once equipment, labour, refrigerant and energy costs are factored in.

The second Cold Hard Facts report into the Australian rac industry has again revealed what a signficant contribution it makes to its national economy - conservatively estimated at 1.7 per cent of GDP - with cooling equipment consuming more than a fifth of the country’s electricity.

The report reveals that more than 45 million individual pieces of RAC equipment are operating in Australia, consuming an estimated 59,000 GWh of electricity in 2012, or more than 22 per cent of all electricity used in the country that year. Owners of RAC equipment spent an estimated $14 billion dollars (£8.2 billion) to pay for that electricity.

The associations contributing to the report comment on the fact that despite this contribution, the public do not perceive the rac industry’s signficance.

“The provision of refrigeration and air conditioning is clearly a major enterprise by any measure. Yet the Australian public has little knowledge of this industry, and does not relate to it as an industry in any meaningful way.” 

The report is being viewed as a first step to the appropriate placing of the industry in the framework of government policy.

The authors say: “As a first step to developing a more detailed understanding of the role of RAC in the energy economy, some parts of the industry should possibly be elevated to have a policy focus in their own right.

The cold food chain for instance, that refrigerates fresh food from the farm shed to the family kitchen (and to export), is so extensive and energy intensive, and is so vital to the functioning of our cities, it could be regarded as a piece of national infrastructure of the same scale and importance as roads and the distribution of water and electricity. Just like water reticulation, electricity distribution and transport networks, the cold food chain is not an option for our cities. It is an essential service.

This report will hopefully provide greater insight into the many aspects of the RAC industry so that its role and importance in the economy can be better understood, and receive the policy attention, planning and training resources that it deserves. This major measures of the industry reported here should also create something of a benchmark against which future studies can measure the rate of change, and the success or otherwise of changes implemented.”


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