Australian Unity has once again hosted the annual Australia Day Breakfast celebrating the milestones that have built the character of our nation.
Rohan Mead, Group Managing Director, introduced the event by giving some background on our history and involvement in the Australia Day holiday, as well as encouraging a balanced conversation around the most suitable date for our national day.
Benson Saulo, Head of Partnerships, Investments – Wealth & Capital Markets, delivered the Welcome and Acknowledgement of Country with breakfast taking place on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations.
With past keynote speakers including Mr Nyunggai Warren Mundine, Executive Chairman of the Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce; Hon. Chief Justice Marilyn Warren AC, Supreme Court of Victoria; Lee Lin Chin, Australian broadcaster and noted journalist; and Li Cunxin, Artistic director of Queensland Ballet (also known as Mao's Last Dancer since the release of his autobiography of the same name) this breakfast event brings together some of the best and brightest in our nation to discuss issues at the forefront of conversation.
This year’s keynote speaker, Ziggy Switkowski AO, delivered an impressive review of Australia's ingenuity in the field of technology and development. He then turned his attention to the future, dissecting the role technology will play in our lives and careers over the next decade.
Taking Australia into the future
Predicting what the workforce, and workplace, will look like for future generations, Mr Switkowski noted that young people entering the workforce are less likely than their parents or grandparents to stay in any one position for a prolonged period. He also recognised the changing role technology will play in the way work will be carried out.
"Today's young adults change jobs every 4-5 years. There is a need for continuing education and retraining to meet new job/career opportunities," he explained. "CEOs still value a number of decidedly human skills … leadership, communication skills, complex problem solving … but in the future, human ingenuity may not suffice."
The focus on ingenuity was clear as he ran through a formidable list of Australian inventions and achievements in technology that have helped shape the world. From the Hills Hoist to the black box flight recorder and WiFi technology, Mr Switkowski praised our advancements while reiterating the importance of embracing new technologies.
"Working in tandem, smarter machines and better skilled humans will likely drive swifter and more compelling innovations," he said.
The pace of change
In his parting words, Mr Switkowski reminded the room that progress from the turn of the 21st century had been the fastest in human history, and that the best is yet to come.
"If you thought that the changes we’ve experienced over the past 20 years, indeed the past century, have been overwhelming, let me emphasise that ‘change will never again be so slow,'" he remarked.
"Today’s young people are the best educated in our history, bright, well informed and challenging, ambitious and keen to make their mark. Our future is in good hands.
"To be Australian is to embrace the future while celebrating our history, our traditions; and continue to earn the respect of the global community for how we direct technology for the social good."