Country at crossroads, finds CSIRO

Australia is set to either enter a massive boom period of prosperity, strongly transition to a new renewable economy and enjoy more livable major cities or slump into a long period of decline and economic lethargy, a new CSIRO report has found.

The Australia National Outlook 2019 (ANO 2019) report, co-published by the CSIRO, NAB and over 20 partners, sets out to examine what Australia could look like in 2060.

ANO 2019 draws on the latest scientific data and modelling from leading experts at CSIRO and input from more than 50 senior leaders from across industry, non-profit and university sectors.

"The ANO is a unique way of uniting the power of science with the lived and hoped-for experiences of Australia’s industry leaders and chart a path to prosperity that gives all Australians a better quality of life," CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall said.

"To put Australia on the path to the most prosperous future though requires a new way of thinking and a new type of leadership which cuts across all walks of life in our great country."

In its positive Outlook Vision, the report details a near utopic vision for the country, including:

  • Our living standards in 2060 – as measured by GDP per capita – could be as much as 36 per cent higher in the Outlook Vision compared with the Slow Decline scenario

  • Average real wages (adjusted for inflation) could be 90 per cent higher than today

  • Passenger vehicle travel per capita could decline by up to 45 per cent in our major cities, with more people living closer to work, school, services and recreation

  • Household spending on electricity – relative to incomes – could decrease by up to 64 per cent

  • Greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced to "net zero" by 2050.

And in order to achieve that vision, the country must make the following five key shifts:

  • Industry shift - Boost productivity in established industries, prepare our workforce for jobs of the future, and invest in innovative, high-growth industries

  • Urban shift -Increase the density of our major cities, create a wider mix of housing options, and improve our transportation infrastructure

  • Energy shift - Adopt low-emissions technologies in electricity and transport, triple energy productivity, and pursue opportunities for low-emissions energy export

  • Land shift - Invest in food and fibre industries, find new and profitable ways to use our land, and build resilience to climate change

  • Culture shift - Restore the trust in institutions, companies and politics.

The full ANO 2019 report can be found here

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