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European Australian Business : 2008
60 colleagues have regularly adapted traditional product lines to create a variety of grains, cereals, meat, fruit and vegetable lines better suited to resist diseases and pests, improve yields and efficiencies, and appeal to diverse market tastes. The agriculture and food manufactur- ing industries are important in WA’s economic, social and rural wealth, making the State a large, reliable and internationally significant producer and supplier of high quality grains, beef, dairy products, wool, live sheep and cattle. Total agricultural production for 2006- 07 exceeded 9.6 million tonnes valued at over A$6.1 billion. With a State population of only 2 million people, A$4billion or 65 per cent of production was exported. Western Australia’s wines, syn- onymous with the premium and ultra premium end of the market, are often viewed as the jewel in the Australian wine crown. Britain and Europe remain the industry’s most important export market. Information & Communication Technology The information and communications technology (ICT) industry in WA is a rapidly growing sector, employing in excess of 39,000 people and, for 2006- 07, generating exports worth A$55 million. Global players of the status of IBM, Mo- torola and Raytheon have established a significant presence in WA owing to a superior pool of skilled and creative computer literate researchers, engi- neers and technicians, and a regional location that connects businesses to Asia and provides a real time link with Europe and North America. Global recognition has been achieved in the areas of digital content, smart cards, mapping and design, radio and communication, imaging, remote sensing, spatial data systems, process controlling and online share trading. Significant developments are now taking place in radio astronomy (in particular through targeting the inter- national science community’s largest observatory project, the Square Kilo- metre Array). A major Western Australian Gov- ernment initiative has been the development of the highly lauded Technology Park at Bentley, where ICT companies account for half of the 100 research-oriented companies located there. Plans are underway to substan- tially expand this precinct. Technology Park hosts major research activity from various national research bodies, including CSIRO and several Cooperative Research Centres, as well as the establishment of specific Cen- tres of Excellence. Marine and Defence Western Australia is host to a world- class shipbuilding industry that is responsible for about half of Australia’s commercial shipbuilding production. It has also produced military and paramilitary vessels for the national and international Navies. WA leads the field in pioneering the technologies to develop aluminium lightweight high speed fast-ferries, and as a consequence now produces The ICT Industry is booming in Western Australia