a leader of nations << I believe we can
build an economy that is far less dependent on luck and on the prosperity of others. To do that, we must recognize that Australia’s resources below ground can be equaled—or exceeded—by our resources above ground. We must unlock our intellectual resources along with our natural ones
INGENUITY ISSUE 1, 2011
UQ GRADUATE, CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF THE DOW CHEMICAL COMPANY, DR ANDREW LIVERIS, BELIEVES AUSTRALIA MUST COMMIT TO AN INNOVATION REVOLUTION IF THE WORLD’S GREATEST CHALLENGES ARE TO BE SOLVED.
THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY surprised the world last quarter, growing faster than expected as other economies shrank and sputtered. Indeed, with low unemployment and high quality of life, Australia is a country to be admired. It has weathered the global economic crisis while remaining connected to the global economy. In the near term, Australia’s prospects for prosperity look bright. But as Australians, we must think beyond the near term—past fiscal quarters and business cycles—and consider this country’s place in the world generations down the road. Australia has a choice: it can be merely the envy of nations, or a leader among them. Australia’s recent growth has largely been driven by a boom in natural resources. It has extracted them, exported them, and added to the national wealth in the process. But a resource-based economy can only take the country so far. Consider our economic relationship with China. China’s meteoric rise is of incredible value to Australia. We provide the coal and gas that fuel their growth. We produce the minerals that build their cities and infrastructure. They will continue to grow, and both countries will continue to benefit. While Australia should still tap its resources, this country cannot pigeonhole itself as the world’s quarry or China’s miner. Commodities markets are cyclical and volatile. And other nations can make huge purchases—or none at all— according to their own whims.
Though Australia’s resources are diverse, the nation is not immune from outside forces. Australians know we are lucky to have been blessed with such abundance, but we know, too, that a country—however lucky it is—cannot rely solely on luck. I believe we can build an economy that is far less dependent on luck and on the prosperity of others. To do that, we must recognize that Australia’s resources below ground can be equaled—or exceeded— by our resources above ground. We must unlock our intellectual resources along with our natural ones. What I envision is an innovation and advanced manufacturing economy. Innovation economies don’t just react to the global economy—they drive it. They generate the bold ideas and create the cutting-edge products that change our world, and the way we live in it. Most importantly, they are at the forefront of solving the world’s challenges, from increasing urbanization, to changing climates, to a skyrocketing demand for energy. For Australia to have the capacity to solve those challenges as well, we must reorient the country’s economy with a comprehensive, long-term plan. First and foremost, Australia requires a robust advanced manufacturing sector. Advanced manufacturing takes inputs, combines them with intellectual capability, and adds value to a functionality the world needs—pure water, lower carbon emissions, faster and more effective smart phones. This is the kind of economy that
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