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New tech could cost 5m Australian jobs

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More than five million Australian jobs could disappear in the next 10 to 15 years because of technological advancements.

Almost 40 per cent of existing Australian jobs have a moderate to high likelihood of disappearing due to computerisation and automation, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia report found.

“In some parts of rural and regional Australia in particular there is a high likelihood of job losses being over 60 per cent,” CEDA chief executive Professor Stephen Martin said on Tuesday.

Martin said new jobs and industries will emerge but Australia will be left behind if it is not planning and investing in the right areas.

He said the pace of technological advancement in the last 20 years has been unprecedented and that pace is likely to continue for the next 20 years.

“While we have seen automation replace some jobs in areas such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing, other areas where we are likely to see change are, for example, the health sector, which to date has remained largely untouched by technological change.

“Our labour market will be fundamentally reshaped by the scope and breadth of technological change, and if we do not embrace massive economic reform and focus on incentivising innovation, we will simply be left behind in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.”

Martin said it was likely tough decisions about the Australian labour market would need to be made in the next decade, and Australia also needs to reconsider how it deals with reskilling workers as particular fields of employment disappear.

“Currently the commitment needed to link education and innovation policy with funding is appalling compared to other countries and Australia’s industry innovation strategy is woefully underfunded compared to global competitors,” he said.

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