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Cleantech Investing in Australia

Cleantech investing in Australia is gaining steam. Learn about the market’s key players and how to get involved in this growing space.

Climate change is a looming issue for Australians, with 82 percent concerned about bushfires and 81 percent worried that drought or flooding will affect crop production and food supply.

This is where conscious investors look to the cleantech sector, which covers everything from renewable energy to low-emission technologies to water technology to battery storage and more.

What should investors know about cleantech in Australia before they jump in? Read on for a look at key factors, including market size, the industries encompassed by cleantech and big players to watch.


Cleantech investing in Australia: Market size

Cleantech is growing in Australia, and one way to get a picture of the space is through the Deloitte Australia CleanTech (DACT) Index. It included 90 companies with a combined market cap of AU$73 billion as of February 2021, and is designed to track their market-cap-weighted share price performance.

Launched in 2008, the DACT has now outperformed the wider market for seven years in a row, which according to Deloitte Australia indicates growth and maturation in the cleantech sector.

The post-COVID-19 recovery presents new opportunities as cleantech can contribute to both economic recovery and global decarbonisation efforts. The latest DACT report shows it is “well above” its pre-coronavirus levels, suggesting a positive investment environment for low-carbon companies.

Cleantech investing in Australia: Industry breakdown

Deloitte Australia breaks the cleantech market down into a number of sub-sectors.

The firm emphasizes that cleantech is different than socially responsible investments and environmental, social and governance investments, better known as SRI and ESG.

The distinction is that SRI and ESG look at incremental improvements in company performance, while cleantech is about companies that positively enhance communities and ecologies.

Here’s a look at the cleantech sub-sectors Deloitte Australia mentions:

  • Biofuel: corn ethanol, sugar ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, algae production and biotech providers.
  • Biogas generation: landfill gas, waste to energy, biomass digester gas and biosygas.
  • Biomaterials: organically based materials and plastics, energy materials and green chemistry.
  • Carbon trading: environmental offsets, carbon farming, soil management and livestock management.
  • Energy storage and fuel cells: Energy storage systems, batteries, pumped hydro and fuel cell technologies.
  • Environmental service providers: environmental engineering, specialist services and equipment providers.
  • Geothermal: hot fractured rock, conventional geothermal, technology and equipment providers.
  • Green buildings: green building design, precinct design, products and services, rating systems and building management.
  • Smart grid and energy efficiency: demand response, grid management, peer-to-peer trading, energy efficiency, home automation and internet of things.
  • Solar: traditional photovoltaics, concentrating photovoltaics, nanotechnologies and solar thermal.
  • Vehicle technologies: hybrid, flex fuel, hydrogen and electric vehicles and recharging and refuelling infrastructure.
  • Waste management recycling: residential and industrial waste collection and disposal and recycling operations.
  • Water: desalination, water reuse, sensor technologies, water efficiency, utility management and treatment technologies.
  • Wave, tidal and hydro: surface and submerged wave technologies, tidal, major and mini-hydro and pumped storage schemes.
  • Wind: onshore, offshore, urban, turbines, developers, tower and blade manufacturers and community wind farms.

Cleantech investing in Australia: Major companies

As mentioned, the DACT tracks the performance of 90 Australian cleantech companies, and is intended to provide a measure of the market. Investors who want to enter this growing tech sector can start by exploring some of the index’s top stocks by market cap.

Consistently performing renewable energy stock Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ) regularly tops the list by market cap, and is also New Zealand’s largest renewable energy power company.

Other major index players include Reece Group (ASX:REH), Australia’s largest supplier of plumbing and bathroom supplies. Notable examples in the renewable energy space include Mercury (ASX:MCY), which deals with hydroelectric-generating and geothermal plants in New Zealand, and Contact Energy (ASX:CEN), another New Zealand electricity generator that dabbles in natural gas and broadband retail.

One of the biggest companies in the waste sector is Cleanaway Waste (ASX:CWY), which is an end-to-end e-waste recycler that employs some 6,000 Australians over its 250 branches nationwide.

Cleanaway Waste performed well throughout the coronavirus crisis and is well-placed to capitalise on Australia’s growing efforts to deal with plastic, as well as the country’s desire to be waste self-sufficient after China’s ban on accepting recycling from Australia.

Cleantech investing in Australia: Other opportunities

Investors specifically on the lookout for cleantech startups instead of listed stocks may want to join EnergyLab, which purports to be Australia and New Zealand’s largest cleantech acceleration program. EnergyLab receives submissions from cleantech startups in the region that are looking to raise capital and passes select opportunities on to its members.

Looking forward at renewable energy uptake in Australia, the country’s Clean Energy Council describes 2020 as significant in that more than one-quarter of the nation’s total electricity generation came from renewable sources for the first time.

The top renewable energy source for Australia last year was wind, followed by small-scale solar and hydro. The Clean Energy Council notes that the country’s states and territories have taken the lead on renewable energy policy rather than the federal government.

Further into the future, an abundance of sunshine and natural resources means the nation has the ability to move to a 100 percent renewable system, as per the Australian Energy Market Operator. However, trading in gas- and coal-powered electricity would require major political shifts.

For investors, it’s clear that as Australia looks for climate solutions and economic gains post-COVID-19, there will be no shortage of opportunities in the cleantech space to take advantage of in the near future.

Don’t forget to follow @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Sydney Opera House at night

Robotics is an area of investing that is growing in Australia ― but is it a sector worth investing in?

The global robotics industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.8 percent through 2028 according to the Global Industrial Robotics Market Analysis 2020. Robotics is an area of investing that is growing in Australia ― but is it a sector worth investing in?

Broadly speaking, robotics is the design and construction of robots. This can include core automation and production, industrial software, robot technology and integration of robotics. From drones to self-driving cars to toys ― robotics is a growing industry that is beginning to permeate our daily lives.


The distinction between robotics and AI can be a little confusing, but essentially think of robotics like the body and AI like the brain. Both can exist separately, and they are powerful when combined. The goal of a robot is to complete a task faster and more efficiently than a human.

What does the market look like?

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen technology sectors such as robotics accelerate as businesses have faced global challenges. Robotics has been able to help keep spaces safer by replacing humans with robots on factory lines, in eCommerce warehouses or on healthcare frontlines taking temperatures or disinfecting spaces.

What is Australia doing to support the robotics sector?

In early 2020, the Robotics Australia Network was formed to accelerate growth of the domestic robotics industry. The network aims to strengthen global competitiveness and cement Australia as a global leader in robotics.

How does the Australian robotics sector stack up?

According to the International Federation of Robotics, in a ranking of the world's most automated countries it's not even in the top 10. Number one is Singapore, followed by South Korea then Japan.

The investment space for pure robotics companies is relatively small, with greater opportunities to invest in more broader technology, AI and automation stocks.

Who are the big players in robotics stocks?

Robotics stocks in Australia are companies with a strong crossover to other technology sectors like artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Vection Technologies (ASX:VR1)
Market Cap AU$77.56 million

Vection is a multinational software company with offices in Western Australia as well as Subiaco and Casalecchio di Reno in Italy. The company uses robotics technology as well as 3D, virtual reality, augmented reality, industrial IoT and CAD solutions. The business is split into two sections: IT development and outsourced services. The company also collaborates with Autodesk Technology Centers, the Microsoft Mixed Reality Team and Cisco Systems Italy.

Bill Identity (ASX:BID)

Market Cap AU$52.97 million

Previously known as BidEnergy, Bill Identity is a series of bill management solutions leveraged using robotic process automation, which helps clients increase efficiency. The company serves customers across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the US and Europe. Bill Identity had a strong year, with total operating revenue growth of 55 percent year-on-year to US$14.6M in FY21.

What are the other ways to invest in robotics?

Another way to get into the robotics sector is investing in robotics exchange traded funds (ETFs), a popular choice that offers exposure to the industry of robotics and artificial intelligence rather than a single company. Two major ETFs in the robotics sector are:

  • BetaShares Global Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF (ASX:RBTZ)
  • The ROBO Global Robotics and Automation ETF (ARCA:ROBO)

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

parliament house in the evening. canberra, australia

Cannabis remains a hot-button issue in Australia, and the country's political parties have diverse opinions. Here's a look at what they think.

Cannabis reform at a national level still seems far off for Australians, but what do each of the country's major political parties think about the drug?

At the time of publication, the Australian federal parliament had members in the House of Representatives from nine political parties, and senators from nine political parties as well.

Let's look at what Australia's four major political parties think about cannabis, followed by a brief overview of the minor parties in power. We'll also run through the cannabis-specific political parties not currently elected.


Australian Liberal Party

The Australian Liberal Party is in power right now, and it has a conservative view on drug policy, including cannabis, which it believes should remain on the illicit and illegal drug list. The party also has policies around deporting drug dealers. Although it has endorsed research on medicinal cannabis through the Therapeutics Goods Association (TGA), it has since removed all references and specific policies regarding cannabis from its platform.

Current Health Minister Greg Hunt has expressed concern over the Australian Capital Territory's decision to legalise cannabis given that it directly conflicts with federal law. He previously told ABC Radio Melbourne that cannabis presents a "significant mental health risk."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has joked that he "won't be partaking" in cannabis. He was also unmoved by activists from the Who Are We Hurting campaign who delivered a pound of weed to Kirribilli House on April 20, 2020, and then brought AU$420,000 in crisp green AU$100 bills to Parliament House on the same date in 2021.

Australian Labour Party

The stance from the Australian Labour Party is in support of medicinal cannabis only. Similar to the Australian Liberal Party, there is no public policy mention of cannabis or marijuana in the Australian Labour Party's mandate.

State members in Queensland and New South Wales have publicly called for the decriminalisation of cannabis, with some going so far as to call for legalisation; however, at this stage the official party line isn't pushing for legalising.

The Nationals

Running on a platform that focuses on rural Australian communities and agriculture, the Nationals often rely on more conservative policies. As part of a coalition government with the Australian Liberal Party, the party line for the Nationals is thought to be aligned as "no" to decriminalisation and "no" to legalisation, but "yes" to medicinal cannabis that is heavily regulated through the TGA.

Australian Greens

The Australian Greens have been proudly (and loudly) lobbying for cannabis legalisation for many years as a major policy. The current party line is to legalise the production, sale and use of cannabis and cannabis products for recreational use, whilst regulating growth and possession for personal and medicinal use.

Minor parties in the House of Representatives

  • Centre Alliance — Member of Parliament Rebekha Sharkie spoke in support of a medicinal cannabis bill in February 2021 and believes medicinal cannabis should be included in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
  • Independent — There are no public policies available for members of parliament Helen Haines, Zali Steggall or Andrew Wilkie, although Wilkie was the major push behind legalising hemp as a material and food source in Australia.
  • Katter's Australia Party — Bob Katter is not pro-legalisation, and joked in parliament, "I didn't know marijuana was legal in Canberra and I can now understand why the country has gone to pot."
  • Liberal Party of Queensland — No public policy; presumed to be the same as the Australian Liberal Party and Nationals as they are a coalition.
  • United Australia Party — The party wants a standard on synthetic dangerous drugs, including cannabis.

Minor parties in the Senate

  • Centre Alliance — Senator Stirling Griff voted against expanding medicinal cannabis in 2017. No public policy on record.
  • Country Liberal Party — The party has no public policy on record.
  • Independent — Senator Rex Patrick voted strongly in favour of increased access to medicinal cannabis, but has previously stated that decriminalising cannabis "requires considerable thought and analysis."
  • Jacqui Lambert Network — The party has policies to address the problems facing everyday Tasmanians in accessing medicinal cannabis, and believes it should be a doctor/patient issue and not a political/bureaucratic issue.
  • Pauline Hanson's One Nation — The party has stated, "One Nation upholds the right of Australians to access medical cannabis, that may give them quality of life and life itself." However, it has a history of blocking motions like the 2017 bid to fast-track medicinal cannabis for the terminally ill.

Pro-cannabis parties in Australian politics

There are several smaller pro-cannabis parties; of particular note is the Legalise Cannabis Australia Party. It was first founded as Help End Marijuana Prohibition (known by its clever and catchy acronym HEMP) in 1993 by Nigel Quinlan, who ran under the candidate name Nigel Freemarijuana.

The group, which changed its name to Legalise Cannabis Australia in September 2021, has a number of policies around legalising and regulating cannabis for personal use, industrial use and medicinal use.

A subgroup of Legalise Cannabis Australia is the Legalise Cannabis Queensland Party, which was officially approved by the Australian Electoral Commission in September 2020 and ran in the October 2020 state election. The party garnered 2.2 percent of the vote, the fourth highest overall. The Legalise Cannabis Western Australia Party won two Upper House seats in the 2021 state election.

The Reason Party (formerly the Australian Sex Party) advocates for cannabis to be legalised, regulated and taxed. The party is currently only represented in the Victorian Legislative Council by Fiona Patton and is not represented at a federal level. Patten recently chaired a foundational committee that provided a report on findings and recommendations on cannabis policy to the Victorian parliament.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.