Australia’s  Comp Australia’s  Comp

Australia’s Comp - PowerPoint Presentation

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Australia’s Comp - PPT Presentation

arative Advantage Ian Lowe A fundamental point The future is not somewhere we are going it is something we are creating Many possible futures We should be trying to shape a sustainable future ID: 602375

000 economic australia environmental economic 000 environmental australia global future growth sustainable change social head natural reform sustainability australia




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Australia’s Comparative Advantage

Ian LoweSlide2

A fundamental point

The future is not somewhere we are going, it is something we are creating

Many possible futures

We should be trying to shape a sustainable future Slide3

Council of Aust. Governments


National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development

“a path of economic progress that does not impair the welfare of future generations”

“equity within and between generations”

“recognition of the global dimension”

“protection of biological diversity and the maintenance of ecological processes and systems” Slide4

UN 2015 report on progress

Australia 18


of 34 OECD nations

Below Canada, NZ, even UK

Among worst in OECD on resource use per head, waste per head, GHG / GDP, obesity rate

Well below average on poverty, inequality, gender pay gap, women in elected office

Scandinavian nations, USASlide5

The report’s emphasisThe modelling finds that without reform, living standards are likely to rise modestly, taking real annual consumption per head from $36,000 today to $45,000 in 2030. However, with a major reform package across investments and structural reforms, annual consumption per head is projected instead to rise to $55,000, implying a reform dividend to living standards of $10,000 per head. This reform dividend rises further by 2050, to over $15,000 per head.Slide6

Environmental impactsIf this increase in per capita wealth were to be achieved, combined with the population increase resulting from current policies, we would double the impact on Australia’s natural systems.

Given that we are not now living sustainably, increasing the imbalance should certainly not be the top priority.Slide7

International benchmarking reports and domestic surveys show that Australia’s culture and society is fundamentally strong. In recent decades Australia has experienced one of the longer periods of sustained employment and income growth of any advanced country. Its basic institutions have been stable and

issues of social equity and environmental sustainability have been of growing importance

in national political discourse.Slide8

Australia has a strong and respected research capability, but it needs to improve its performance in the application of this research in industry settings


Quality of Australian government leadership, both as perceived within Australia and from overseas, and regardless of political affiliation of the leadership, is presently rated poorly. Furthermore,

government regulations are now considered to be high

, which stifles innovation and growth.Slide9

While rightly celebrated for its egalitarian culture, Australia is facing concern over worsening outcomes in terms of inequality and participation. Our national identity and the Australian way will demand this is addressed, and increased educational attainment and labour-force participation by women and Indigenous communities are amongst key priorities for achieving this.Slide10

Increasing inequality

Top 1 %

Top 10 %

Bottom 90 %









Implications of economic growth for social equity: Rand CorporationExpanding

and improving the quality of education from early childhood to the tertiary level will further economic growth and promote equality. There are very high social returns from early education programs, and tertiary education has a very high pay-off in Australia. Investing in quality, expanding the number of institutions, and raising the minimum school leaving age are all likely to have positive impacts on economic growth and


Australia’s environmental performance in response to economic growth has been mixed, with some indicators improving

and others deteriorating.

Environmental sustainability is an essential prerequisite for lasting prosperity and wellbeing.

Global benchmarking shows that Australia has done especially well in terms of its water management, which can provide important lessons for other areas. Slide13

State of Environment 1996: much in good condition, but serious problems need to be addressed to achieve the goal of sustainable development

Loss of biodiversity, degradation of productive land, state of inland rivers, pressures on coastal zone, increasing greenhouse gas emissions

2001, 2006, 2011 reports: all those problems still getting worse. Slide14

ABS measures of progressSince 1990, all economic indices positiveSocial indicators mixed: about half better, about half worse

All environmental indicators worseSlide15

In a world of strategic uncertainty and rapid change, Australia could help to set the narrative and influence the agenda for global standards and regulations, and particularly in its region. If handled well, these would play to Australia’s strengths and allow it to compete more effectively on a global stage.Slide16

Climate change and pandemics are two great disrupters. To those managing and attempting to mitigate them, they can also present opportunities. Appropriate investments in science and medical research and supporting policies, for effective commercialisation, will pay off.

Australia does have an opportunity to be a global leader in innovation for adaptation to climate change.Slide17

While the policy and reform process is never without challenges, a survey of public attitudes conducted for this project shows there is an appetite for at least some level of policy change. This includes a desire for more spending on core drivers of comparative advantage such as education at the school and tertiary level, and transport and communications infrastructure.


were also very open to other investment change and to some institutional changes, particularly in labour market flexibility and pro-competition


IGBP [2004]

“In terms of some key environmental parameters, the Earth system has moved well outside the range of natural variability exhibited over the last half million years at least. The nature of changes now occurring simultaneously in the Earth System, their magnitudes and rates of change are unprecedented.”

Ian Lowe


IGBP [continued]Human activities are affecting global systems in complex, interactive and apparently accelerating ways

Earth dynamics characterised by critical thresholds and abrupt changes

We can now alter natural systems in ways that threaten the very processes and components on which we depend

We could trigger catastrophic changes

Ian Lowe


W. Steffen et al, Springer-Verlag 2004Slide20

“Our present course is unsustainable - postponing action is no longer an option”

- GEO 2000 [UNEP 1999]


Limits to Growth + 40

years data



key parameters [population,

resource use, industrial output,

agricultural production and

pollution] we are tracking the “standard run” which leads to economic and ecological collapse before 2050. Slide23

“these recent crises - fuel, food and finance - are simply the three canaries in the mine. These are the early warning signals that our current economic system is simply not sustainable


WEF Global Agenda Summit, 2008Slide24








Sustainability is about living within our means. It is about managing our consumption of resources and balancing environmental, economic and social outcomes. It means improving our quality of life, but making that improvement without leaving a burden on the future generations.

Looking after our Environment

Environmental Sustainability is about reducing our impact on the environment by protecting our air, water and land, our native flora and fauna. It means reducing the load on our natural resources, such as water and fuels for energy, and decreasing our production of waste.

A Better Place to Live

Liveability is about making Sydney a better place to live. It means being able to walk to your corner shop, local school, park or bus stop, as well as providing us with a choice of housing that meets our needs.

Supporting our Economy

Competitiveness is about supporting Sydney's role as a Global city, and ensuring our city's long term economic prosperity. It means providing quality infrastructure and services to service our jobs and the economy, and supporting urban centres


Vision for a Sustainable CitySlide25



E C O N O M Y Slide26

Markets give us things many of us want

Natural systems give us things we all really needSlide27



E C O L O G YSlide29


Our decisions shape the future

Aim: a sustainable future

Many dimensions: resources, economic, social, environmental, health, cultural, spiritual…

Boosting economic growth should not be the top priority



to other species and to future generationsSlide30

Academy of Science study

“strong support for a future Australia that is more caring, community – focussed and fair than the present”