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SEVEN MEGATRENDS THAT WILL SHAPE THE NEXT 20 YEARS

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SEVEN MEGATRENDS THAT WILL SHAPE THE NEXT 20 YEARS

A once-in-a-decade report from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, identifies seven global megatrends that hold the key to the challenges and opportunities ahead.
With an outlook to 2042, Our Future World revisits CSIRO’s ground-breaking 2012 report of the same name, exploring the geopolitical, economic, social, technological and environmental forces unfolding around the world, predicting their likely impact on Australia’s people, businesses and governments.
The seven global megatrends are: Adapting to climate change; Leaner, cleaner and greener; The escalating health imperative; Geopolitical shifts; Diving into digital; Increasingly autonomous and Unlocking the human dimension.
CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said megatrends help us to understand the challenges and massive opportunities that will shape our future.
“Australia is at a pivotal point. There is a tidal wave of disruption on the way, and it’s critical we take steps now to get ahead of it,” Dr Marshall said.
“From resource scarcity to drug resistant superbugs, disrupted global trade, and an increasingly unstable climate threatening our health and way of life – these are just some of the challenges we face.
“But these challenges also tell us where the most powerful innovation can be found, when we see a different future and leverage science to create it.
“Australia has the highest wind and solar capacity of any developed nation and a wealth of critical energy minerals – we can be a leader in feeding the world’s hunger for clean energy.
“The next wave of digital innovation will generate $10–15 trillion globally.
Australia can tap into this to transform existing jobs and create new jobs and wealth while leveraging Artificial Intelligence to solve some of our greatest challenges, like outthinking bushfires, accelerating vaccine development, predicting drought, or stabilising our energy grid.
“We have the opportunity now to use science to invent the kind of world we want to live in – but we have to act, and we have to do it together.
“Trust in science led Australia’s response to COVID-19, and science can help us lead a Team Australia response to the challenges ahead,” he said.
Our Future World report co-lead author Dr Stefan Hajkowicz said: “We analysed thousands of data points collected over decades.
“Some of the trends we identified have been widely discussed, while others are newer and directly related to our experiences during the pandemic.
“We are, for example, just beginning to understand the potential long-term impacts of the pandemic on mental health and chronic illness.
“We anticipate that while the pandemic sped up digital transformation, the real explosion in our capability is yet to come. In this environment, digital skills will become more valuable, but rather than replacing human intelligence, technologies like AI will assist us in doing our work better.”

Our Future World co-lead author Dr Claire Naughtin said: “Trust emerged as a central theme – trust in institutions, technology, supply chains and security will all be key issues over the coming two decades.
“Currently just under 70% of Australians do not trust AI systems but would be more willing to use these systems if appropriate ethical measures were in place.
“This latest update on the global megatrends gives us line of sight as to what has changed over the past decade and a view to the coming decades.
“Like aircraft engineers would use wind tunnels to test the robustness of new aircrafts, we can use these megatrends to develop, test and refine future strategies to ensure they are robust, whatever the future holds.”

Snapshot of the megatrends: 

  1. Adapting to climate change: with natural disasters expected to cost the Australian economy almost three times more in 2050 than in 2017, we can expect to be living in a more volatile climate, characterised by unprecedented weather events
  2. Leaner, cleaner and greener: an increased focus on potential solutions to our resource constraints through synthetic biology, alternative proteins, advanced recycling and the net-zero energy transition. By 2025, renewables are expected to surpass coal as the primary energy source.
  3. The escalating health imperative: the post-pandemic world has exacerbated existing health challenges posed by an ageing population and growing burden of chronic disease.  One in five Australians report high or very high levels of psychological distress and there is heightened risk of infectious diseases and pathogens resistant to modern antibiotics. There is now a burning platform to also respond to our health risks and improve health outcomes.
  4. Geopolitical shifts: an uncertain future, characterised by disrupted patterns of global trade, geopolitical tensions and growing investment in defence. While the global economy shrunk by 3.2% in 2020, global military spend reached an all-time high of $2.9 trillion and Australia saw a 13% increase in cybercrime reported relative to the previous year.
  5. Diving into digital: the pandemic-fuelled a boom in digitisation, with teleworking, telehealth, online shopping and digital currencies becoming mainstream. Forty percent of Australians now work remotely on a regular basis and the future demand for digital workers expected to increase by 79% from 2020 to 2025.
  6. Increasing autonomous: there has been an explosion in artificial intelligence (AI) discoveries and applications across practically all industry sectors over the past several years. Within the science domain the use of AI is rising with the number of peer-reviewed AI publications increasing nearly 12 times from 2000 to 2019.
  7. Unlocking the human dimension: a strong consumer and citizen push for decision makers to consider trust, transparency, fairness and environmental and social governance. While Australia saw a record level increase in public trust in institutions during the pandemic, this ‘trust bubble’ has since burst, with societal trust in business dropping by 7.9% and trust in government declining by 14.8% from 2020-21.

 

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Ballina gets ‘beefed’ up with new pie shop in town

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Beefy’s Pies Ballina

Ballina gets ‘beefed’ up with new pie shop in town

 

By Samantha Elley

If you’ve been wondering about the new store on River Street in Ballina, wonder no further.

Beefy’s Pies have made their way down from the Sunshine Coast ready to fill the bellies of Northern Rivers locals.

These award winning pies have crossed the border, opening its first NSW store at 166-172 River Street, Ballina.

“We’re excited to receive a warm welcome from the Ballina and Northern Rivers community so far and can’t wait to have everyone in store to taste the Beefy’s difference,” says Jason Lyons, General Manager – Operations at Beefy’s.

“Beefy’s will bring its full range of award-wining pies, sausage rolls, sweets and coffee to the Northern Rivers community, making it a go-to destination for travellers and locals alike.

“Our new Ballina team can’t wait to get to know everyone by name, pie and coffee order. Our opening weekend is the best way to kick this off, but we’ll be teaming up with the local community to support businesses, events and groups in the future with our Pie Drives and fundraising events.”

While the store opened its doors on Friday, 28th June, the official Beefy’s Ballina community launch is Friday 12th to Sunday 14th July with one-weekend only deals and children’s entertainment on offer.

Ballina is Beefy’s 10th store and the first in in New South Wales. It joins locations across South-East Queensland including Gympie, Traveston, Maroochydore, Buderim, Kawana, Aussie World, Glasshouse, Mango Hill and Ningi.

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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Two-in-five Australians set to shop the End of Financial Year sales

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a person online shopping for End of Financial Year sales

Two-in-five Australians set to shop the End of Financial Year sales

 

New research from PayPal reveals that two-in-five (38%) Australians plan to shop during the End of Financial Year (EOFY) sales, but not predominantly for traditional tax-deductible work expenses. Instead, a significant portion of shoppers will be focusing on personal items such as clothing or fashion (51%), electronics (31%), homewares and garden items (26%), and health and beauty products (12%).

The current economic climate is a major factor influencing this broader bargain-hunting behaviour. More than half (52%) of Australians believe that online sales can help them manage cost-of-living pressures. Reflecting this sentiment, two-in-five (42%) will shop the EOFY sales online rather than in-store, driven by the convenience of price comparisons and the perception of better deals online.

“As the cost-of-living crisis continues, it’s clear that Australians are eager to save money whenever and wherever they can, looking to online sales events to help reduce spending,” said PayPal Consumer Shopping Expert Bonnie Brady. She advises that while sales can be an excellent opportunity to save on necessary items, planning purchases and setting budgets are crucial to avoid impulse buying and overspending.

However, the shift towards online shopping comes with increased security concerns. A substantial majority of Australians (93%) are worried about online security, with scams becoming more sophisticated and harder to recognise. This concern has grown over the past year, with two-in-five (40%) Australians more worried about online security than before.

Despite these concerns, there is a strong awareness of online security measures among Australians. About 84% feel confident in their understanding of how to protect themselves against scams, and 99% are familiar with key online safety techniques such as using complex passwords (87%), diversifying passwords (76%), and avoiding links in text messages (76%). Additionally, four-in-five (84%) prefer to use secure payment options like PayPal when shopping online.

Unfortunately, heightened vigilance against scams has led to some disruptions in legitimate activities. For example, 87% of Australians avoid phone calls from unknown numbers due to scam fears, and 15% have missed a genuine payment assuming it was fraudulent.

Bonnie Brady emphasises the importance of staying informed about online safety: “The convenience of online shopping has never been more popular, but we must all do the work to learn how to stay safe online, and to keep that understanding up as new threats emerge. The protective steps that each of us can take are simple and often free, but no one can take them for us.”

To help consumers shop safely and smartly during the EOFY sales, PayPal offers the following tips:

  1. Plan purchases: Make a list and budget before shopping to avoid impulse buys.
  2. Scrutinise suspicious sites: Look out for fake retail sites by checking for anomalies and verifying URLs.
  3. Check reviews: Look up online reviews to avoid fraudulent sellers.
  4. Understand return options: Ensure the retailer has a reasonable return policy.
  5. Compare prices in real time: Use tools like PayPal Honey to find the best deals and apply discount codes automatically.
  6. Keep financial details safe: Use secure payment methods like PayPal to protect your information.

These strategies can help Australians make the most of the EOFY sales while staying safe and within budget.

 

For more business news, click here.

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Builders Respond to NSW Budget

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NSW Budget Builders

Builders Respond to NSW Budget

 

Today’s NSW Budget offers significant measures to address supply barriers in the new home building sector, according to Master Builders Association of NSW Executive Director Brian Seidler.

Housing

“Treasurer Daniel Mookhey has appropriately placed housing at the heart of the budget, acknowledging that building the necessary homes and infrastructure is essential to tackling broader economic and cost-of-living challenges,” said Mr. Seidler.

Key Housing Initiatives:

  • Speeding Up Development Approvals: Measures to expedite development approvals will reduce build costs and address delays in planning, which have historically extended build times.
  • Investment in Social and Affordable Housing: A record investment in social and affordable housing aims to address the critical undersupply for vulnerable populations.
  • Release of Government Land: The release of government land for both government and private home building is a long-advocated measure by Master Builders.
  • Build-to-Rent Projects: These projects are welcomed as they diversify the NSW housing market and make rental accommodation more affordable.
  • Higher Density Construction: With construction times increasing from an average of 22 months to over 30 months over the last decade, accelerating build times is crucial. The focus will be on overcoming labour shortages, low productivity, and delays in other approvals such as occupation certificates.

Business Support

“Building and construction businesses have faced rising operating costs and increased project risks for several years, with many struggling to stay afloat. Over 98% of the industry is comprised of small businesses, which are currently facing significant challenges,” said Mr. Seidler. He emphasized that a strong building and construction industry is vital for the economy, noting that every dollar invested in the industry returns three dollars to the economy.

Skills and Training

“Workforce shortages are a significant barrier to the building and construction industry, which loses 8% of its workforce annually, replacing only about half of those lost. Growing our domestic workforce is crucial,” stated Mr. Seidler.

Key Skills and Training Measures:

  • Fee-Free Training: The budget includes additional places for fee-free training, particularly targeting construction apprenticeships.
  • Industry-Led Training Organisations: There is a call for better support for vocational education and training providers outside of TAFE, emphasizing the role of industry-led registered training organisations and group training organisations in delivering this training.

Infrastructure

The Master Builders Association welcomes additional investments in transport and education projects, including upgrades to roads around the new Western Sydney airport. “As we build more homes, it’s crucial to have supporting infrastructure like roads, hospitals, and schools to support growing communities,” Mr. Seidler said.

Building Commission

“We welcome additional funding for the NSW Building Commission to enforce regulations and eliminate bad building practices,” said Mr. Seidler. The Master Builders Association has long supported an industry-specific building commission to ensure high standards in construction projects, meeting community expectations.

In summary, today’s NSW Budget introduces several positive measures that aim to enhance the building and construction industry’s ability to meet housing targets, support small businesses, address skills shortages, and ensure robust infrastructure development.

 

For more business news, click here.

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