#NIBA2020: Faith in the Future

Demographer and leading social commentator, Bernard Salt AM, told #NIBA2020 delegates that they should have faith in the future of Australia.

Salt said Australia is a prosperous well managed nation that will be regarded as a safe harbour, a refuge, by immigrants, students, visitors and business investors during the 2020s.

“At the end of the day, I have faith in the Australian product, that we are safe, we are secure, we are well managed. We may not say that, we may not think that, but in a relative sense, where else on the planet would you rather have weathered the COVID-19 storm?”

In his presentation, Salt acknowledged that post-COVID Australia will be different. He said there will be a greater emphasis on healthcare, on technology, on logistics, on high-end manufacturing, and on agribusiness, the latter not so much related to COVID-19, but to the drought busting rains of January and February.

“Australia will be increasingly concerned about supply chain security leading to the formation of new and expanded businesses.

“The point here is, if you look at the figures, there are opportunities and you need to configure your business to maximise your exposure to those parts of the economy that are expanding, and reduce your exposure to those parts of the economy that are contracting.”

Salt said you need to adopt the shape of a key, where the ridge lines of the key align with the demography of the Australian workforce.

He continued that post-COVID Australia will be shaped by the aspirational values of Millennials in the late 30s and early 40s driving up their asset base and moving into the business formation stage of the life cycle.

Salt also believe that with the coming of the coronavirus, the whole narrative of the city shifts, and this is where you work from home, shop from home, study from home, and you’re entertained from home.

“Prior to the pandemic, one worker in 20 worked from home, during the peak of the lockdown, it was about 45 per cent, and after the lockdown, I thinks it’s going back down to 15 per cent.

“This is going to have a big impact on the way the home is organised, and that’s going to shift the focus of business from the city, to the suburbs.”

Salt concluded his keynote by saying that Australia is a fundamentally good proposition, “People will want to come here and bring their entrepreneurial energy and aspiration to Australia – that will drive Australia in the 2020s.”