Finance and insurance is the fourth largest sector in Australia's economy, generating 8.1 per cent or A$81 billion of real gross value added in 2007-08. This contribution is up from 6.5 per cent two decades ago. The finance and insurance industry is almost as big as the mining sector (the industry traditionally associated with Australia's economic wellbeing) and its expansion has also aided growth in related sectors such as communications, property and business services. 
In 2005-06, business expenditure on research and development increased for the seventh consecutive year to a record $10.1 billion, effectively doubling over the previous five years.
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