And we cannot afford to miss the opportunity to echo the prime minister’s ambitions to build a fair wage, strong growth, and high productivity economy.
Let’s not waste another day by not talking about the huge global challenges of digitisation, technology and the transformation of production and supply chains.
We cannot afford not to discuss how we reshape and diversify our economy so Australia is at the forefront of innovation, ingenuity and designing a prosperous future.
We cannot afford to listen to the cynics and avoid thinking about the challenges and huge opportunities for Australia that come with decarbonising the economy. We must not fail to discuss how to maximise our strengths in agriculture and mining, while moving more into the critical minerals that will power up the clean energy revolution.
Let’s not miss out on a dialogue to position Australia as a global leader in advanced manufacturing, including being part of the global supply chains in the mammoth industries of defence, aerospace and space.
We cannot afford not to be talking about ensuring every Australian has access to the skills and training they need for these new, higher paying jobs in new industries, or duck discussion about apprenticeships, cadetships and traineeships.
And we also cannot afford to ignore the fact that Australia needs to attract the best talent in the world to power up our economy by transferring their skills and knowledge here, so we can collectively succeed.
The summit is a chance to talk about forging a new direction and repositioning Australia on the global frontier of new industry formation, with new and higher paying jobs, higher living standards, better access to skills and training and a fairer and more inclusive society.
If we let the same old tired cynicism seep in, we will continue to fail women in the economy. One of the biggest injections to economic growth comes from increasing the participation of women in the workforce and enabling them to progress, advance and lead.
Women’s participation is a core economic issue, not a side issue. Lifting the female participation rate to halve the gap between men and women would increase the labour force by almost half a million.
Also, over the next two days, we cannot afford not to talk about how to reverse the situation where whole suburbs of people and entire regional communities are left behind.
We cannot shy away from talking about the Australians with disabilities who are locked out of meaningful work because collectively we lack the imagination to better design their jobs and workplaces to allow them to reach their full potential.
We cannot afford not to be talking about how we bring Indigenous advancement into the core economic narrative of this country.
And we absolutely cannot afford not to talk about the risks of Australia drifting to the back of the pack as an economic power and the strategic risks that come with that.
The problem with not talking is that it leads to misunderstandings, second guessing and conflict.
It leads to entrenched problems that cannot be solved.
The problem with not talking is that people just go their separate ways.
Talking doesn’t always mean agreeing. It’s about respectful listening and conversation.
Talking needs to be followed by actions, but actions without a conversation are usually about one side winning and the other losing.
This is not where the country needs to head.
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