Australia is already a well recognised exporter of agricultural and mineral commodities, so why don’t we start there. What are the next industries ripe for a technology led disruption? Here are my bets that map to Australia’s current brand as an exporter, our natural resources that we can provide a high value add to and skills we have or can develop with our quality education system.
This is not the only possible plan nor is it an exclusive plan, this plan can and will work with other technology led plans. While we need focus we also need to accept public and privately led innovation, this means we need to reduce restrictions (such as the legislated ban on nuclear energy) to allow people and companies to make these bets. The risk of not removing impediments and restrictions is that we will become an economic backwater, unable to pay for our education, healthcare and social security, all which we will need as jobs start to become light on the ground.
My hope publishing this document is that you will ask yourself “What would my bets be?” and I challenge you to write, publish and share your own plan.
Energy as a Service
The world currently uses about 20,000 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity each year and this will double to triple in the next several decades as billions of people rise out of poverty.
A turnkey, cheap, clean, abundant and reliable source of energy will be one of the key elements required by countries around the world. Small modular reactors are the promise of this future, our Uranium and Thorium reserves are the largest in the world and the energy density of these fuels is 1 million times denser than fossil fuels and other chemical sources (like batteries). That means the impact of mining U and Th is one millionth that of coal for the same amount on energy. By any measure this is the definition of innovation.
No more shipping coal and yellow cake on ships, let’s create turn key “fission batteries” that we ship out fueled and ready to provide power, then at their end of life, bring back, recondition, refuel and send them out again. There are already designs and startups around the world ready to start building this vision, we can become an amazing partner for these startups, we have the fuel, the educated people and incentive to do this. We just need the will.
Australia has the resources, natural and intellectual, to be the world leader in clean, cheap and reliable energy.
Low Impact Agriculture
As we feed the billions of people around the world, we have come to understand the impact that the industrialisation of farming has on the environment. While it has been critical to our success in feeding billions of people, we need to reduce our impact on the environment from agriculture.
A key challenge for the century is to feed everyone the food they want to eat, while at the same time reducing the impact on the land and on animals. We can do this now with vertical farming and synthetic meats, coupled with our cheap, clean and reliable energy, the promise of low impact food production is possible.
Australia has the resources, natural and intellectual, to be the world leader in harmless food production.
Information and the Future
We must continue our efforts to support information technology industries as a key to export success. The energy and agricultural efforts above will be highly reliant on STEM education and research which will add to our investment in these areas of the education system.
This is critical to the success for the overall plan, recognising that STEM is the key to export success, ensuring that our workforce is built around STEM means that we need to ensure we are creating a private/public system of education and jobs that underpin these roles. This includes an immigration policy that focuses on STEM. As you can see above, we don’t even rate a mention at this point in time.
Australia has the resources, natural and intellectual, to remain a leader in STEM research and become a leader in STEM based industries.