Digital automation technologies in the mining and oil and gas industries continue to present a tremendous opportunity for Australia, their adoption has the potential to add $74 billion in value to the national economy by 2030 and create more than 80,000 new jobs.
To realise these benefits, Australia's technology sector must act now, and through collaboration continue to drive a globally competitive supply chain, delivering jobs to the cities and the regions with the potential to add tens of billions of dollars to our local industry.
These are some of the key findings from the Staying ahead of the game report, released by Industry Growth Centres METS Ignited and NERA (National Energy Resources Australia). Prepared by AlphaBeta, this report looks to understand the positive impact new technology could bring to the local sector.
"There is a real and immediate opportunity, Australia has the right foundation and experience to create a highly competitive resources technology ecosystem, contributing more jobs and growth to our economy," said METS Ignited CEO Adrian Beer.
"As an industry, we must focus on having the right framework in place to realise this vision: actively upskilling our workforce for their future roles; strengthening collaboration among industry, government and education providers; investing more in commercially-orientated research and development".
Automation has been in the sector for some time, however the next wave of growth will come from the widespread adoption of Industry 4.0 technology. Australia's METS companies are well placed to lead this next phase.
"The growing use of digital technology creates additional social and economic benefits for the broader community as well. We will see significant environmental advantages, improvements in workplace health and safety outcomes, and further investment in regional centres and local technology providers if our industry acts now".
NERA CEO Miranda Taylor said the report findings indicate a critical opportunity for Australia's resources industries to take the actions needed to ensure they can translate automation and robotic technologies into real employment and productivity advantages.
"As part of the Industry Growth Centres Initiative, we have a mandate to ensure Australian industry adapts to rapidly changing technology and emerging workforce trends. This report demonstrates the transformative effects that new technologies have and will continue to exert across industry supply networks and the enormous benefits that flow from supporting and integrating innovation. Just as importantly, it also highlights the very real consequences at a national level, if we fail to, or are too slow in harnessing the value that new technologies present us," Ms Taylor said.
"To ensure Australia leads, in taking up this automation opportunity, we must continue to inform and support our sectors about future workforce and skill requirements. Sector-wide collaboration is critical to addressing workforce planning issues, widening and deepening the pipeline of appropriately skilled personnel, cementing a culture of R&D investment and growing our entrepreneurial ecosystem to continue commercialising and integrating new technologies."
"To realise this vision, Australia needs to be bold. Policymakers, mining and oil and gas companies, education providers, and researchers need to work together to ensure Australia provides the right environment to thrive in an increasingly competitive globalised environment," said Dr Andrew Charlton, Partner at AlphaBeta.
"If we focus on the right pathway to spearhead this technological progress, mining, gas and oil support systems will continue to be delivered by Australian firms and the jobs will continue to be created in Australia.
"But if we choose to ignore this Report, our competitive advantage will severely diminish. If we act now, the total number of jobs can increase and Australia can maintain its competitiveness in the mining, gas and oil industries."
About METS Ignited
METS Ignited is an industry-led, government-funded Growth Centre for the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector, working with Australian suppliers to the mining industry, global and local miners, and the research community to advance the competitiveness and productivity of the Australian METS sector. www.metsignited.org
NERA has been established to maximise the value to the Australian economy by having an energy resources industry that is globally competitive, sustainable, innovative and diverse. Through a national focus, NERA's role is to grow collaboration and innovation to assist the energy resources industry manage cost structures and productivity, direct research to industry needs, deliver the future work skills required and promote fit for purpose regulation. Find out more by visiting www.nera.org.au.
About Industry Growth Centres
The Industry Growth Centres Initiative is an industry-led approach driving innovation, productivity and competitiveness by focusing on areas of competitive strength and strategic priority. This will help Australia transition into smart, high value and export focused industries.
The Initiative enables national action on key issues such as collaboration, commercialisation, international engagement, skills and regulation reform. It drives excellence, not dependence, and will create an economy that ensures Australia's ongoing prosperity. For more information: www.industry.gov.au/industrygrowthcentres