Speech - Future Directions For The Australian Economy




"Future Directions For The Australian Economy"




Well, thank you very much, David. I'm sure that everybody in the room appreciates how much work that you have put in and how much work has been done by all of the support staff that have been working right throughout the weekend. I'd like to pay tribute to what they have done, from the scribes all the way through to the people from McKinsey's. They've just been fantastic.

I've got to say, I think my favourite moment here was to watch all of those who were leading the sessions this morning. As I walked around the room, there was Professor Chaney, and of course we had Mr Moss, Reader Moss, we had senior lecturer of banks, Professor Hilmer, were all up there leading these various sessions, neat priorities lined up right across the board. Thank you for what you've done to distil down a coherent agenda that we can look to into the future.

Because what's this all about? There's been a lot of technical jargon, there's been a lot of public policy speak, there's been a lot of private sector speak. But what does it mean for somebody who is watching this conference from their lounge room – and there has been fantastic coverage of what we've been doing.

I think what we can say to them is that what this session here has been about over the last 24 or 36 hours is getting the fundamentals right in our economy so we can create wealth which can be shared for the future of all Australians.

And the success of this group fundamentally depends, or the success of the other groups, the other nine groups, fundamentally depends upon the success of this group. Because the agenda that we are going to see later on in the day coming from those other nine streams is going to require the product of a creative, of a rich economy. And we all know in this room when we go through the priorities that have been set out here today, that the key to creating that wealth is lifting our productivity, getting the sort of productivity growth that we need so that in 2020 we can say we have achieved the objectives via the policy platforms that have been put forward through all of these groups. And of course, if we do that, we can all say that we were part and parcel of a process that built an economy in 2020 that we were all proud to hand to our children or to our grandchildren. That's what's so important about this economic stream.

And of course, it's all well to say that we will get there in 2020 but I think as David said before, what we've got to do is we've got to go away from here and say this is just the beginning. Because achieving these objectives in 12 years' time still requires a lot of hard work.

Getting that infrastructure agenda, for example, into place is something that's going to take a lot of hard work and a lot of application. Getting in place the modern technology, the broadband that we require for the economy of 2020 is not going to be easy to do, but we've got to do it.

The reason we need a sense of urgency about each of these priorities here today is that the world is a rapidly changing place. And just to stay even with the rest of the world, let alone to get ahead and achieve that ambition of lifting per capital incomes, requires a degree of urgency applied to infrastructure, reform of our tax system, what we do in our governance, and so on.

So, thank you to each and every one of you that are here today. It is an important thing that you've done. We do greatly appreciate all the effort that you've put in. And I certainly look forward to working with each and every one of you over the next few years to make sure that this agenda is in place so that we can say in 2020, "we didn't waste the opportunity of the boom years, we took the opportunity to invest in the future and create a better economy for all Australians".

Thank you.