Resource sector leaders are meeting in Melbourne on Thursday as Australian industry, including mining, faces a major change.
Steve Knott, CEO for the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA), said resource employers have been riding a wave of transformation for some time, particularly concerning the management of 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,” he 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.
“We are 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.
“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.”
Knott is addressing a gathering of 65 industry leaders, collaborating on the opportunities and challenges the future of work presents.
Australian demographer and leading social commentator Bernard Salt also noted this 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”.
“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,” he said.
“The great challenge for Australia and any western community is to engage, upskill, reskill to actually bring everyone along in the journey.”