The Australian National Outlook 2019 is a combination of CSIRO modelling and research, combined with input from over 50 leaders across 22 leading organisations from industry, the not-for-profit and education sectors.

Considering local and global trends and their impact on Australia’s future, participants explored possible outcomes to maintain quality of life for current and future generations.

Challenges facing Australia

The report has identified a number of challenges facing the nation now and in the future:

  • The rise of Asia’s middle class and Australia’s potential to miss economic opportunities related to this
  • Advances in artificial intelligence, automation and biotechnology putting Australian workers out of jobs
  • Climate change and environmental degradation unless significant changes are made
  • A growing and ageing population that will put strain on Australia’s infrastructure and economy
  • Declining trust in governments, businesses, NGOs and the media
  • Declining social cohesion amongst Australians.

Two scenarios: Slow decline and outlook vision

Slow decline

In this scenario, economic growth, investment and education outcomes are weak. The economy is increasingly vulnerable and Total Factor Productivity (TFP) growth remains well below the global frontier, with low wage growth.

As cities continue to grow outwards, people in outer suburbs will struggle to access jobs, education and services. Housing affordability continues to be an issue, resulting in further social division and low trust in institutions.

While energy policy issues are resolved domestically, the low-emissions energy transition is stunted by a lack of global cooperation on climate change. Both energy and agricultural productivity remain low.

Outlook vision

In this scenario, Australia reaches its full potential. Economic growth is strong and Australian companies are using technology to maximise productivity and create globally competitive, export-facing industries. Improvements in education enable Australians to compete in a technology-enabled workforce.

Australian cities are dynamic and diverse global centres with high-density populations, a range of affordable housing options and equal access to high-quality jobs, recreation, education and other services.

The energy system sees a successful transition towards renewables, with high reliability, affordability and lower emissions.

Australia reaches net zero emissions by 2050, driven by significant shifts in land use with carbon plantings.

In order to reach this scenario, there will need to be key shifts in industry, urban planning, energy, land use and culture.

Click here to read the full report.

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