A nationally consistent wave resource assessment is presented for Australian shelf (<300 m) waters. Wave energy and power were derived from significant wave height and period, and wave direction hindcast using the AusWAM model for the period 1 March 1997 to 29 February 2008 inclusive. The spatial distribution of wave energy and power is available on a 0.1° grid covering 110–156° longitude and 7–46° latitude. Total instantaneous wave energy on the entire Australian shelf is on average 3.47 PJ. Wave power is greatest on the 3000 km-long southern Australian shelf (Tasmania/Victoria, southern Western Australia and South Australia), where it widely attains a time-average value of 25–35 kW m−1 (90th percentile of 60–78 kW m−1), delivering 800–1100 GJ m−1 of energy in an average year. New South Wales and southern Queensland shelves, with moderate levels of wave power (time-average: 10–20 kW m−1; 90th percentile: 20–30 kW m−1), are also potential sites for electricity generation due to them having a similar reliability in resource delivery to the southern margin. Time-average wave power for most of the northern Australian shelf is <10 kW m−1. Seasonal variations in wave power are consistent with regional weather patterns, which are characterised by winter SE trade winds/summer monsoon in the north and winter temperate storms/summer sea breezes in the south. The nationally consistent wave resource assessment for Australian shelf waters can be used to inform policy development and site-selection decisions by industry.