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Jim Chalmers on the single biggest issue holding Australia…


“The Albanese government has a laser-like focus on Australia’s productivity performance, which was ignored and left to fester for the best part of a decade,” he said.

“Our approach is all about investing in our people, skills, innovation, technology and cheaper and cleaner energy – not about making people work harder for less.

“By maximising the opportunities of the energy transformation, embracing new technology, by investing in our people and their skills, we can build a more productive and prosperous economy.”

Boosting economic dynamism by assisting with technology adoption and making it easier for firms to enter and exit was on the agenda, along with better matching workers with a broader employment opportunities.

The IGR also said emerging innovations, such as cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, had the potential to transform the future of work by automating more routine tasks and improving worker capability.

A need to better skill Australia’s workforce to the jobs that will exist in the next 40 years was also a key objective.

“The jobs of the future will require increasingly specialised skill sets and there is potential to support Australians at all stages of their human capital development,” the report says.

“Promotion of foundational skills – such as in literacy and numeracy – at an early age will facilitate participation in the expanding knowledge economy over the next 40 years.”

So, too, was changing Australia’s industry mix, with a particular focus on the opportunities and challenges of the global push to decarbonise.

“In particular, the net-zero transformation is creating new markets, disrupting trade patterns, and introducing opportunities to lower electricity costs,” the report said.

“Rising temperatures also present a range of challenges to productivity growth, which increases the importance of planning and investing in adaptability and resilience.

“Amidst these structural changes Australia also has opportunities to increase economic diversity and grow the share of higher productivity industries.”

The IGR, an initiative of former treasurer Peter Costello, is supposed to be released every five years to provide long-term estimates of structural budget pressures. The last IGR was released by Josh Frydenberg only two years ago.

Dr Chalmers commissioned another one to help provide a basis for reform, productivity-enhancing and revenue measures to try to maintain budget sustainability.

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