Economic diversity and Australia's path to net zero


    Fossil fuel-exposed regions will need to get creative in sustaining their populations and economies as Australia transitions from traditional energy sources.

    The Centre for Policy Development Making Our Way: Adaptive capacity and climate transition in Australia’s regional economies report says identifying the implications of the net zero transition for workers in Australia’s fossil fuel-exposed regions is a first step, but the transition will affect entire regions, not just workers.

    “These regions contain fossil fuel workers, but also large groups of people whose industries depend on the income brought to the region by the fossil fuel sector and its workers, for example through education, retail, healthcare and public administration,” the report says.

    “The new national Net Zero Authority offers a unique opportunity for a coordinated approach to a just transition for Australia’s fossil fuel-exposed regions. A successful transition depends on the overall resilience and adaptability of these affected communities.”

    The report says that it is not as simple as “identifying a single anchor industry to replace fossil-fuel intensive activities, but requires investing in the adaptive capacity of these affected regions — from economic diversity to social capital. Doing so will help local communities, state governments and the Commonwealth identify the types of targeted investments to help communities thrive.”

    Coal and natural gas production hubs in Australia will need high levels of innovation and entrepreneurship to provide a strong base for regional economic diversification. Population decline, as workers emigrate from a region, will impact the skills and income levels of the remaining population.

    “The need for different types of investments should be calibrated as time passes and as Australia undergoes its net zero transition,” the report notes.

    AICD Board Statement

    As the board of Australia’s leading governance institute, we support effective national governance. Having respectful and trusted relationships with First Nations peoples is widely accepted as a core element of effective governance in Australia.

    Supporting the legitimate aspirations of First Nations peoples to have a direct voice in the laws and policies that impact them is a concrete demonstration of our nation’s commitment to reconciliation. That is why the AICD board supports a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament.

    The upcoming referendum offers an opportunity to take an important step forward to strengthen our national system of governance. We will continue to encourage everyone to engage in respectful conversations as we seek to come together as a nation in our understanding of the diverse perspectives on this important issue. We respect that some stakeholders, including some of our members and employees, will hold a different view.

    Each of us must make our own decisions independently at the ballot box, as is our democratic right. Irrespective of the outcome of the referendum, the AICD will continue to embrace the spirit of reconciliation and walk with First Nations Australians in a movement towards a better future

    Cyber Transformers

    Being proactive in implementing cybersecurity is key to a positive digital transformation strategy, according to recent Accenture analysis.

    Research from Accenture — State of Cybersecurity Resilience 2023 — reveals that organisations that closely align their cybersecurity programs to business objectives are 18 per cent more likely to increase their ability to drive revenue growth, increase market share and improve customer satisfaction, trust and employee productivity. Successful cyber transformers are embedding crucial cybersecurity actions into their digital transformations, says the report.

    However, too many organisations (18 per cent) still deploy security controls after they have made digital changes to the business — and then only if vulnerabilities are detected. Too little, too late.

    Three actions to accelerate transformation:

    1. Require cybersecurity controls before all new solutions are deployed
    2. Apply cybersecurity incrementally as each digital transformation milestone is achieved
    3. Assign a cybersecurity representative to the core transformation team and a point person to orchestrate cybersecurity across all transformation initiatives.

    Sold on AI

    About 75 per cent of the value that generative AI use cases could deliver falls across four areas — customer operations, marketing and sales, software engineering and R&D.

    McKinsey & Company research — The economic potential of generative AI: The next productivity frontier — says of 63 use cases analysed, generative AI has the potential to generate US$2.6–$4.4 trillion in value across industries.

    Its precise impact will depend on a variety of factors.

    AI could contribute roughly US$310b in additional value for the retail industry (including vehicle dealerships) by boosting performance in functions such as marketing and customer interactions.

    By comparison, the bulk of potential value in high-tech comes from generative AI’s ability to increase the speed and efficiency of software development.

    Worker Entitlement Reforms

    Workplace legislation changes will add more complexity to the Australian wage system, according to Ai Group CEO Innes Willox.

    The federal government’s second round of workplace reforms in the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Protecting Worker Entitlements) Bill 2023 was passed in June and contains reforms on:

    • Enhanced migrant worker protection
    • Expansion of the circumstances in which employees can authorise employers to make a valid deduction from payments
    • New minimum superannuation contributions entitlement under National Employment Standards
    • Stronger and more flexible access to unpaid parental leave under the Fair Work Act 2009.

    According to MinterEllison, “These changes are positive for employees, but add another layer to Australia’s complex system of employee entitlements.”

    Government should note the “significant burden it’s imposing on employers through waves of changes... and adopt a more reasonable approach to affording employers time to implement the changes,” says Willox.

    Scammer Scourge

    The new National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC) will coordinate an investment scam fusion cell to combat what has become a growing problem.

    Investment scams cost Australians more than $1.5 billion last year. The fusion cell will be led by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and includes representatives from the banks, telecommunications industry and digital platforms.

    It will be the first fusion cell coordinated by the new National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC), which was launched on 1 July, and will run initially for six months to identify methods for disrupting investment scams to minimise scam losses.

    For support to help with emotional distress, anxiety or depression about investment scams, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or, or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or

    King’s Birthday Honours List 2023

    AICD congratulates these members who were recognised in the 2023 King’s Birthday Honours.


    Ashley Howell CSC GAICD
    Belinda Moss OAM FAICD
    Heidi Prowse OAM MAICD
    Group Capt Catherine Wallis CSM GAICD


    Vivienne Allanson OAM GAICD
    Dr Tony Badrick AM GAICD
    Fiona Balfour AM FAICD
    Suzanne Becker AM MAICD
    Prof Louisa Degenhardt AO MAICD
    Robert Fitzgerald OAM MAICD
    Graham Ford AO FAICD
    Sunita Gloster AM GAICD
    Marina Go AM MAICD
    Warren Gould AM GAICD
    Noel Graham AM FAICD
    Prof Michael Kidd AO FAICD
    Stephen Leahy OAM MAICD
    Anne Loveridge AM GAICD
    Andrew Macdonald AFSM GAICD
    Robert Millner AO FAICD
    Fiona Robertson AM FAICD
    Dr Diana Robinson AM MAICD
    Gary Smith AM FAICD
    Jane Spring AM FAICD
    Prof Carla Treloar AM GAICD
    Edwin Tucker AM FAICD
    Prof Donald Wilson AO AAICD
    Amanda Wilson AM GAICD


    John Allpass AM FAICDLife
    Theodore Bacalakis OAM FAICD
    Brett Clark AM GAICD
    Allan Davies OAM GAICD
    Dr Genevieve Goulding AM FAICD
    Penelope Hamilton OAM GAICD
    Malcolm Letts PSM GAICD
    Salvatore Petroccitto OAM GAICD
    Julie Russell OAM GAICD
    Dushyanthi Thangiah OAM GAICD


    Michelle Ewington OAM GAICD
    Michael Lowe CDS MAICD


    Jane Jeffreys AM FAICD
    Assoc Prof Sharon Liberali AO AAICD
    Michele Smith OAM MAICD


    Miriam Bass OAM GAICD
    Robyn Batten AM FAICD
    Jane Bell AM FAICD
    Timothy Connolly AM MAICD
    Patricia Cross AM FAICDLife
    Patricia Crossin AM MAICD
    Dr Margaret Grigg OAM GAICD
    Kathleen Grigg AM FAICD
    Prof Jane Gunn AO MAICD
    Michaela Healey AM MAICD
    Kate Jenkins AO GAICD
    Lisa Kennett OAM GAICD
    Quentin Kilian OAM GAICD
    Peter Lewis OAM FAICD
    Stephen Marks OAM FAICD
    Prof Danielle Mazza AM GAICD
    Jane McAloon AM FAICD
    Prof Grant McArthur AO MAICD
    Hon Patrick McNamara AM MAICD
    Shane Neaves OAM GAICD
    Dr David Newman AM FAICD
    Anne-Marie O’Loghlin AM GAICD
    Kris Peach AM GAICD
    Prof Alice Pebay AM AAICD
    Prof Anna Peeters AM GAICD
    Ruth Picker AM MAICD
    Jillian Riseley AM GAICD
    Ajay Satyan PSM MAICD
    Dayle Stevens OAM GAICD
    Jayne Sunbird OAM MAICD
    Sharon Turner ACM MAICD
    John Turner OAM FAICD


    Dr Rosanna Capolingua AM FAICD
    Karen Chappel AM GAICD
    Terry Hill AM FAICD
    Kelly Howlett AM GAICD
    Elizabeth MacLeod PSM GAICD
    Miriam Stanborough AM GAICD
    Pia Turcinov AM GAICD

    This article first appeared under the headline 'Economic Diversity and the Path to Net Zero' in the August 2023 issue of Company Director magazine.

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