CSIRO, along with the National Australia Bank (NAB) and more than 20 partner organisations, has released a report outlining visions to boost Australia’s economy, which identifies manufacturing as a key growth sector.
The CSIRO Australian National Outlook report was released on June 18, with focusses on technological changes and energy efficiency among topics also raised in its outlook to 2060.
Sketching out the future of the nation, the report suggests that manufacturing has a key role to play in how Australia confronts challenges in order to grow.
The report’s authors identified six challenges that could disrupt Australia’s current conditions and could influence the country’s future.
The rise of Asia, technological change, climate change and the environment, demographics, trust, and social cohesion are highlighted as these key challenges.
Divided into Slow Decline and Outlook Vision, the visions of the future identify the manufacturing industry as playing a key role in Australia’s growth.
In one scenario outlined by the report, energy use increases without significant improvements in energy productivity, emissions decrease, but not by enough to avoid climate change, and cities continue to sprawl. In another vision, energy use increases by 6-28 per cent while productivity doubles, Australia reaches net-zero emissions and city density increases.
To achieve these positive outcomes, the authors identify that manufacturing, along with other industry sectors, will play a core role. By adopting productivity boosting technology in existing and new industries, the report acknowledges that industry is essential to the future of Australia. In addition, by investing in skills, Australia will have an enviable workforce that can take advantages of technological advances. Finally, if Australia were able to develop export-facing industries, which can support growth, the sector can leverage its competitive advantage while integrated into global markets and value chains.
Manufacturing will however have to adopt energy efficient technologies and be located close to where people live, to reduce resource use.
While these visions for the future may seem far off, the achievement of a positive future depends on planning for success.
In a statement, CSIRO chief executive, Larry Marshall, said putting Australia on the path to the most prosperous future requires a new way of thinking and a new type of leadership, which cuts across all walks of life in Australia.