Anthony Albanese has urged Australia to grasp the opportunity to become a renewable energy superpower.
The prime minister warned the nation could not afford to just wait, watch and react to the clean energy transformation and the growth of the care-and-support economy, or rely on breakthroughs in technology.
“We have to seize these opportunities,” Mr Albanese told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia’s State of the Nation conference in Canberra on Tuesday
Turning the nation’s economic advantages into strengths needed to start with clean energy.
“Renewable energy helps the environment,” Mr Albanese said.
“It means lower bills for households and lower input costs for business.”
Growing the care economy – which represented 10 per cent of the workforce – was also crucial.
“Better care makes us a stronger country because it means Australians live better lives,” Mr Albanese said.
“Better care can, and must, drive greater productivity as well.
“In the decade ahead, we cannot settle for a situation where the fastest-growing sector of our economy is delivering zero productivity growth.
“That would only put pressure on other industries to somehow offset the deficit, as well as undermining our future living standards.”
He said Australia’s growth would depend on diversifying exports, boosting the workforce and having more women participate in the economy.
Productivity would be at the top of the agenda to boost the economy, coming off the back of rising interest rates and high inflation.
“It’s essential for sustaining and sharing economic growth, building long-run prosperity and improving living standards and it’s the big workforces that can deliver the big wins,” Mr Albanese said.
The number of people working in industries such as aged and disability care is forecast to double before 2050.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton told the conference the nation needed a mature adult conversation about nuclear energy.
Mr Dutton said younger people were more open to the idea, as older generations had been influenced by the hit TV show, The Simpsons.
He said no one was proposing Springfield, referencing the big nuclear power-plant in the fictional town.
Mr Dutton pointed to European countries who were using the energy source to help meet emissions targets.
Andrew Brown and Tess Ikonomou
(Australian Associated Press)