Unleashing potential

From the editor

HBR clip
With the Australian Federal election out of the way, the Government must put its focus back on economic matters and provide the leadership required to help develop a globally competitive economy.
 
Whilst traditional mining and agriculture industries will continue to make major contributions, the real opportunities are in the knowledge and innovation sectors to provide high value products and services for evolving global economy.
 
With rich natural resources, for the most part of the 20th century we hardly needed a detailed economic plan as the nation went from “riding on the sheep’s’ back” to “living off our mineral wealth”.
In politics and in business, we often had a fairly passive economic plan, almost like a farmer in drought saying “maybe we’ll get more rain next year”. We far too often looked for externals conditions to change rather than trying to change ourselves.
 
Unfortunately that thinking is profoundly unsuitable for the modern economy. Businesses and countries that are having major sustained growth are those that are seeing opportunities, grasping the opportunities and running with them. The world changes so fast that you must be agile and continually re-invent yourself to remain successful.
 
So on the nation level – what are our opportunities, what must we do to take advantage of these and how do we continue to evolve our economy.
At the political level I would suggest that we are failing to show the leadership required to achieve the economic success we are capable of.
 
Malcolm Turnbull made some excellent announcements late last year regarding innovation, but what is the Government’s plan for Australia? Where are our opportunities? How can we harness these opportunities?
 
It is only when we start having these types of discussions and actions that our true economic potential will be reached.
While our Federal election is over, the US Presidential Election coming in November has the potential to have major impacts on Australia and its economy.
 
The US – China relations are stressed at the moment and this is being particularly materialised in the South China Sea. It is a classic case of an established power being challenged by an emerging power – a situation that has led to many conflicts in the past. Hopefully cooler heads prevail and a military conflict is unlikely, but Australia is in danger of having to choose sides between our No 1 and No 3 trading partners. This is a no-win scenario for Australia.
 
If Donald Trump becomes the US President, it is difficult to see the US being conciliatory to China and there is a real chance of their relationship further deteriorating.
 
This will create an extremely difficult position for Australia politically and economically. We will need to be exceptionally diplomatic if we are able to maintain our strong traditional ties with the USA and our rapidly growing ties with China.