Real World Futures

Who's in charge of the future?

Date: 24 September 2018

A Senate committee has produced the most thorough analysis of what needs to be done to better prepare Australia for the change in work that will stem from technology disruption.

The committee highlights the key weakness in Australia’s current approach to this issue – that there is no co-ordinated approach to what should be one of the nation’s major issues.

It calls for a central body within the federal government to prepare the workforce for change that will flow from technology disruption.

In its report tabled last week, the committee chaired by Queenslander Senator Murray Watt, challenged the approach it had elicited from different arms of the federal government.

The departments of Social Services, Industry, Innovation and Science, Education and Training and Jobs and Small Business all had different projects relating to the future of work.

“Having explored the nature of the work each relevant agency does, the committee sough to ascertain who was responsible for bringing all of the work together; that is, whether any body or agency had oversight of work being done to predict growth, opportunity, skills requirements and outcomes,” it reported.

“The committee established that an overarching national strategic initiative, similar to those in other countries, does not at present exist.”

Heralding the benefits of technology, it also raised the impact of automation on individuals.

“To a worker who loses his or her job as a result of automation, and who has difficulties re-skilling into another career, the realities are stark.

“….It is therefore critically important that we carefully plan for and guide the direction of technological change so that the benefits are maximised and equitably distributed across Australian society and potential negative impacts are minimised.

“This includes ensuring that the Australian public are well informed of any potential impacts technological change will have on the workforce.

“Allowing technological change to occur in an unplanned fashion risks creating a range of unintended consequences and will diminish the potential economic and societal benefits that can be derived from such change.”

This finding goes to the heart of the QUT Real World Futures program which has had the future of work as its focus since commencing in 2015.

And the future of work (and the adaptations we need to make) will also be the focus of our end-of-year conference, Disruptive Influences And What To Do With Them – The Adaptation Factor.

Bookings for the conference are now open. It will include speakers from Google, Bosch, Suncorp, Innovation and Science Australia and QUT. You can check out the program here.

Content sourced from QUT News Web Service.

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