RESOURCE and energy sector leaders met in Melbourne last week for the annual Resource and Energy Sector Industry Employer Luncheon, featuring keynote speaker Bernard Salt AM.
Guest speaker at Thursday’s gathering, Australian demographer and leading social commentator, Bernard Salt AM, noted a disconnect between how Australia functions and is globally perceived, needed to be addressed.
“Australia continues to be an extraordinary business opportunity but the resource sector employers will continue to face a changing landscape in resources, infrastructure, growth and development over the next two decades,” he said.
“All of this augers well for Australia’s future but we need to build the businesses, deliver the infrastructure and maintain social cohesion in order to capitalise on the opportunities going forward.”
Mr Salt said the support of big business on a large scale was crucial to optimise Australia’s ‘extraordinary resources, capabilities and possibilities’.
“You cannot develop the resources of the Australian continent with a series of milk-bars. You need successful, gutsy, global businesses, which can leverage resources in tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars to deliver wealth to the Australian people. That is your job,” he said.
“The mindset we need to adopt in Australia is one where you see change as an opportunity for growth and development as opposed to a threat to the status quo.
“The great challenge for Australia and any western community is to engage, upskill, reskill to actually bring everyone along in the journey.”
AMMA chief executive Steve Knott told the gathering that resource employers had been riding a wave of transformation for some time, particularly in the management of implications from globalisation, collaboration and automation.
“The resource industry has been ahead of the surge in a bid to ensure our sector continues to be a key contributor to our nation’s wealth, employment, and economic and social development,” Mr Knott said.
“The resource industry is a highly innovative, commercially-competitive industry, building world-class projects and offering world-class jobs contributing significantly to Australia’s social and economic development, yet we are tarred with the image of worlds’ past, particularly in this age of economic activism.”
He said the sector was seeing some stability in commodity prices after an extremely challenging period of volatility.
“Today the industry is focused and getting on with being more productive and viable,” he said.
“More recently, we see green shoots of the next wave of development, so we can also be fairly categorised as an industry preparing for what is coming next.”