A report from CSIRO’s Data61 examines the risks and opportunities for Queensland over the next two decades, a period of expected rapid change fuelled by technological disruption and other social and economic driving forces, and identifies the pathways to best position the State for the future.

The Innovation Imperative is the first report from the Q-Foresight program, a joint research initiative between the Queensland Government and Data61 to inform long-term strategy and planning. 

Technology, emerging global markets, demographics, digitisation, cultural change and other megatrends are all reshaping the landscape for Queensland businesses, governments and communities.

The reports estimates that about 868,000 Queensland jobs (36 per cent) are ‘at risk’ of task automation over the coming 20 years, but the Queensland economy is projected to add an extra one million new jobs by 2038. These jobs may be in fields which complement new technology, or in roles with a distinctly human focus such as caring or customer service, and some will be in currently unforeseen occupations.

Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, Senior Principal Scientist at CSIRO’s Data61, said that significant opportunities exist for people and organisations operating in Queensland to capture new value and participate in new global export markets that are developing.

“By using strategic foresight methodology, we can analyse plausible future events at a local and global level to inform current-day strategy and policy decisions for the benefit of the economy and society,” Dr Hajkowicz said.

“Our research clearly shows the areas where Queensland has an opportunity to transition to a digitally enabled economy of the future where technology can be used more effectively to augment jobs and accelerate productivity, leading to better jobs, higher incomes and improved lifestyles for Queenslanders.”

The impact of change will affect different regions and industries across the state in different ways.

While Brisbane will have the largest absolute risk due to its concentrated population, regional risk is amplified by the limited capacity of these areas to absorb displaced workers.

Innovation Minister Kate Jones said Data61’s report demonstrates the growing demand for government-backed innovation to drive the state forward, with the up to one million new jobs projected to be created by 2038.

“The government’s commitment to innovation is putting Queensland on track to become a world leader in emerging tech industries including artificial intelligence, robotics, and autonomous vehicles,” Ms Jones said.

“We’re investing more than half-a-billion dollars to create the jobs of the future in our state. This report confirms what we’ve known for a long time – Queensland’s workforce is rapidly changing.

“Thanks to our investment in innovation, we are in the perfect position to capitalise on the emergence of new technologies like robotics. The fact that up to a million jobs will be created in Queensland by 2038 is proof of the great opportunities we’re helping to support.” she said.

The report recommends the establishment of six innovation pathways to take advantage of the driving forces of change and transform potential risk into firm foundations for new frontiers:

  • Future-focused skills and aptitudes to foster innovators
  • Equality of innovation opportunity to support Queensland’s many regions
  • Investment in transformational technologies to drive growth
  • Collaboration between industry, the research sector, government and communities to deliver results
  • Global customers to expand markets, particularly in the Asia Pacific Region
  • Support frontier firms to create new opportunities

To download a PDF of the report, visit: The Innovation Imperative

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