In the coming years, life expectancy of Australians is slated to increase and there may be a smaller percentage of working age population. Australia may, therefore, not be able to rely solely on labour productivity for its future growth. Greater resources may be required to improve productivity by increasing capital expenditure and automation.35 In recent years, the Government has stressed extensively on innovation, science and technology. In December 2015, the National Innovation and Science Agenda report was released by the Australian Government, which laid down a range of initiatives including assisting through capital and tax incentives to innovators and start-ups, increasing collaboration between the research and development sectors in Australia, encouraging women to take up careers in science and technology and tapping into research talent in schools and colleges.
While labour participation has remained high in Australia, the participation varies greatly for men and women. The Government has been committed to increasing participation of women in the workforce through initiatives such as Women’s Economic Security Package, which targets boosting women entrepreneurship and parental leave packages.
With the nation’s population growing at a rapid pace, Australia’s large cities will face challenges without an adequate investment in infrastructure. Infrastructure has thus become one of the Government’s key priorities. The Government proposed a ~AUD 75 million (~USD 50.3 million) 10-year national infrastructure plan, which includes commitment to construction of major airports and railway routes.
As the world grapples with environmental changes, Australia will also not be able to ignore the impact that climate change will have on its long-term economic planning and ecosystem.
For Australia, the key projected consequences of climate change are increases in temperature, greater number of droughts and an increase in tropical cyclones. Greater investment may be required to increase preparedness towards any unfavorable climatic changes.
Australia’s economy continues to perform well. In the period between 1991-92 to 2017-18, 12 out of 19 key economic sectors have expanded by at least 3% per annum. The service sector has grown at an average annual growth rate of 3.4%, while the non-service sector has grown by 2.1%. Australia’s technology-driven industries, such as information, media and telecommunications; and professional, scientific & technical services have grown by an annual average rate of about 5%, while financial/insurance services and health care and social services have grown at a rate of ~4.5% each.36 Australia’s resistance to global economic changes has ensured it a position of one of the world’s most prosperous countries and Australia will try to protect and improve this position in the long term.
35 Australia’s economic future, an agenda for growth, 2016, report by Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA)