We've answered your frequently asked questions about the Australian National Outlook 2019 report.

Why undertake a project like Australian National Outlook 2019?

Our world is rapidly changing, and while Australia has enjoyed nearly three decades of uninterrupted economic growth, there is no guarantee it will continue. Australian National Outlook 2019 tries to provide a broad and compelling view about Australia’s roadmap to 2060, and was created to help us secure prosperity for future generations.  

What is the Australian National Outlook 2019?

Australian National Outlook 2019 examines what kind of country Australia could be in 2060, economically, socially and environmentally, and the shifts we could make to get there. It brought together science, business, research and community leaders to identify what will make the biggest difference to our country's future prospects. It explores nationally significant issues, risks and opportunities and how Australia might respond to them.

Who was involved?

Australian National Outlook 2019 is a collaborative project involving more than 50 leaders from over 20 organisations across industry, non-profit and university sectors, including National Australia Bank, Shell, Australian Red Cross, Monash University and Lend Lease. View a full list of partners.

How was the project initiated?

Soon after the release of the initial Australian National Outlook report in November 2015, CSIRO and National Australia Bank partnered to create the second phase of the Outlook, using CSIRO’s next-generation integrated modelling suite to investigate the issues most pertinent to the future success of Australia’s economy. Australia’s business community was engaged to highlight the issues most pertinent for the future of Australia’s economy. The scope of Australian National Outlook 2019 was significantly broader than ANO 2015, in that there was a greater focus on economic modelling as well as a consideration of cities, infrastructure, productivity and services.  

How was the scope identified?

In early workshops, participants prioritised the global and national issues they thought were most important to Australia’s future success. This started with a broad environment scan that initially identified over 100 issues, and ultimately settled on 13 national issues across three main topical areas.  

How did the project operate?

CSIRO analysed and modelled future scenarios for Australia’s economic, environmental and social conditions to 2060. The results were then interrogated by Australian National Outlook project members at eight workshops over 18 months. The report presents the group’s findings on the actions that will help create a prosperous future for Australia. In consultation with partners and key subject experts within CSIRO, a report was prepared. CSIRO also authored a Technical Report that underpins the main Report. Both documents are publicly available.

What did the Australian National Outlook 2019 find?

The report identified the two most likely scenarios for our future by 2060 – a Slow Decline or a more positive Outlook Vision, and signals Australia is at risk of falling into a slow decline if it takes no action on the most significant economic, social and environmental challenges. But, if these challenges are tackled head on, a much brighter future is in our sights. 

The Report identifies five key shifts that would need to be made across industry, cities, energy production and agriculture, and to corporate culture. While none of these on their own are new, what is unique is how the Australian National Outlook 2019 has integrated them to identify pathways for the future.  

What does the Australian National Outlook 2019 hope to achieve?

The Australian National Outlook 2019 aims to guide all decision-makers – business, universities and other research institutions, community groups, and government – in developing actions today that will shape a strong and prosperous future for all Australians.  

What was CSIRO’s role?

This project goes to the heart of the National Science Agency’s purpose of addressing Australia’s national challenges. It builds on the first report in 2015, which focused on the water-energy-food nexus, and prospects for Australia’s energy, agriculture, and other material intensive industries.

CSIRO’s role has been to provide the underpinning science consistent with our role as trusted advisor. Australian National Outlook 2019 does not prescribe a particular policy position but rather aims to trigger a national dialogue on the choices available to secure Australia’s future.  

How is this National Outlook different to the report released in 2015?

The ANO is the second Outlook report produced by CSIRO. The first report in 2015 focused on the water-energy-food nexus, and prospects for Australia’s energy, agriculture, and other material intensive industries. The report was nominated for a Eureka Science Award and published in the journal Nature.  

Does the report make policy recommendations?

The Australian National Outlook 2019 aims to guide all decision-makers – business, universities and other research institutions, community groups, and government – in developing actions today that will shape a strong and prosperous future for all Australians. 

How credible is the Australian National Outlook 2019?

The conclusions of the Australian National Outlook 2019 are supported by analysis using quantitative models, that are not only credible tools for exploring their specific domains in their own right, but are also highly integrated. That is, the most important assumptions of these models are aligned to be mutually consistent. The quantitative modelling analysis underpinning Australian National Outlook 2019 has been undertaken by some five core global models representing economic, electricity, transport, land-use, climate and international context variables, and four core national-scale models representing economic, electricity, transport, and land-use national variables.

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