Australia's Challenges

Author: Brad Howard   Date Posted:20 September 2017 

I am a person who likes to look at things in a positive way as I always look for opportunity. However, we also need to look at issues first so we can then find the opportunities. In this article I look at some of the Challenges we face in Australia and  will follow up with the Opportunities in my next blog.

1.Geographical

We are the most geographically challenged nation when it comes to distance and terrain to get from one side of the country to the other. Just look at the monumental task of rolling out fixed line internet through the NBN program. Very few other countries face such vast distances between cities and towns. It also means the cost of moving items and people between destinations within Australia and to and from Australia is very high.

2.Population

For the land mass of our country, our population in comparison is very small. To try and achieve economical benefits due to our sparse and small population is very difficult. Centres such as Sydney and Melbourne benefit from the dense population in a smaller area, however the city of Perth which is the most isolated city in the world with only 1.5 million people faces huge challenges when connecting economically on a national and international basis. When compared to the United States, where there is around a million people every 200 kilometres on the east coast and a good spread of population across central and western states, we have great challenges.

3.Labour Costs

Due to the country’ss prosperity through the most recent mining boom driven by the developing world such as China, Australia has seen the cost of labour and employees rise dramatically in the past 20 years. Wage costs are considered to be in the top 5 countries in the world making us very uncompetitive in a range of industries such as many labouring roles and mass manufacturing leaving the large percentage of these roles being superceded by robots or moved to other countries with cheaper labour workforces.

4.Global Competition

Our kids are growing up in a globalised world where they are instantly connected to anyone, anywhere at any time. This also means that they are competing with people around the world for jobs, careers and business opportunities in their home town, city, state and country. All countries are looking for the best people around the world to maximise the country’s businesses, social structures and governments in a highly competitive world.

5.At least half the jobs will not exist in 10 years

One of the greatest challenges for all nations is how they cope with the replacement of current jobs by robots and other machines and technologies which are more efficient and productive than humans and can work 24/7. As with previous changes in our history, humans have adapted and created new paths. The challenge for us all is guiding the kids so they can find new paths.

6.Coding and Programming

The Australian Productivity Commission announced at the beginning of 2017 that at least 40% of all jobs within 10 years will require coding and /or programming. This is due to the rapid acceleration of Artificial Intelligence into our homes, work life and social environment. The need for training and exposure to these skills has become vital to all Australians.

7.Can’t go back

I hear many people from my generation and generations older than mine state how we should go back to the past and create mass manufacturing and labour intensive jobs into our local economy so this will present many job opportunities. This is an argument that makes little sense in a country where we have the high wages, high standard of living and low population. We cannot produce mass products and compete against the developing world in this global economy. We are at the top of the tree so the challenge for us (unless we all agree to at least half our salaries) is to find ways to compete and offer products and services to the world.

Once gain I stress that these are some of our countries great challenges and my next blog will address these challenges with some wonderful opportunities that will arise from these challenges.

 


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